Other Writings

The Golden Fears

At 82 going on 83

I am curious as to what

My future hearth will be.

Will it be a continuation of

The same the pleasant same or

Horribly will I not even know my name?

To name old age the as the

Golden years is a tragic joke

There's nothing golden about

Arthritic knees, dementia, or stroke.

If I had a choice of these

It would be the arthritic knees.

I'm glad to have no problems yet

But we have to endure what we get.

Worrying about the future will only

Make me gray, so I'm glad to be in

The present and will enjoy each day.

Ode to a Loser

When the agonizing loss occurs

And we try to place the blame,

Perhaps we should remember

Someone loses most every game.

The prominent coach may say,

‘Our talent level’s too low.’

Forgetting he had been in charge

Of the entire recruiting show.

If talent is the one deciding factor

Maybe we should change our approach-

And pay fabulous salaries to the recruiters

And a good deal less to the coach.

And when the game has ended

And the media throws praise about,

Then interview the loser who kept on hitting hard,

With the game no longer in doubt.

We know that winning sells tickets

And this is clearly not bad

For it gives the old grad a share of the victory

Which in life he may never have had.

But without a loser there is no winner

And no victory to share.

There is no praise to be handed out

And no media corps to care.

When champions are declared

And winners achieve their fame

Don’t forget to praise the loser

Without him there would be no game.


Carefully retained along with their legal papers, my parents kept a receipt for payment of poll taxes by my dad. The receipt shows a payment of $30 and is dated 10/16/45. My research shows that the poll tax at the time was $1.50 per year and was cumulative. It appears my dad was becoming current after not paying the tax for twenty years.

Since he was born on March 7, 1904, he would have become eligible to vote at age 21 in 1925. Evidently he never paid the tax and never voted during this twenty year period. The payment of $30 would have gotten him current. For the first time he would have been eligible to vote in the elections after October, 1945.

There was no receipt for my mother who at a cumulative rate of $1.50 per year would have owed $24 since she would have become 21 in 1929.

In today’s economy a tax of $1.50 per year seems almost harmless, but since a 1945 dollar was equivalent to twelve 2009 dollars, the tax was actually $18 per year. To catch up the 30 years in arrears, the cost in 2009 dollars is $360. A large sum when you consider that usually less than 50 % of voters actually show up at the polls. How many would be willing to pay $18 a year for the privilege?

Fortunately, in 1964 this odious tax was eliminated by a constitutional amendment. This made my mother and millions of others, primarily in the South, eligible to vote for the first time.

It is interesting to note that after repeal of the poll tax both my parents were very active and informed voters. They not only voted but were selected year after year to work in handling the voting and tabulating of the results at Beat 15 in Blount County, Alabama.

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