A few years ago, I was in this plane getting ready to jump out in- tandem with a professional sky-diver. Those of you who have done this know it’s “a piece of cake”. But when I was about to do it for the first time, I was remembering what my son, who’s a pilot, rhetorically ask, “why jump out of a perfectly good airplane?” The answer for me is similar to what it’s been for so many things I’ve done in my life, that is, if I experience it I’ll be better able to tell the story and answer my son’s question. Tomorrow, I’ll show you some pictures taken on the way down.
Archive for September, 2009
You may be remembering Don Kennedy as “Officer Don” or you may be listening to him on the “Big Band Jump”. But you also currently may be watching and listening to him on the “Cartoon Network”. Here’s Don telling us about his several alter-egos.SO KEEP A SHARP EYE OUT FOR THE CHARACTER IN THE GREEN LEOTARDS. HE’LL BE THE SAME MAN YOU KNEW IN THE 1960s AS “OFFICER DON”!
Mikey Valentine is the first barefooted winner of a local race I’ve seen in my almost 40-years of running. This was at Sunday’s Duluth Fall Festival 5K. On the international scene, the late Ethhopian Abebe Bikila gained fame running without shoes in the 1960 Olympics. But North Georgia College and State Unversity graduate Valentine says he more closely identifies with the shoeless South African Zola Budd. In the mid 1980s, Budd set the women’s world record in the 5k at 14:48+ Valentine didn’t set any kind of record in Duluth, but he was well ahead of everyone else.
Running without shoes in Duluth, Valentine’s time in the 5K=17:10!
What a day! A 5K race in the morning (Doug Kessler Lightning 5K and 10K in Sandy Springs), a visit to a flooded house in the afternoon, and wrestling with my cable company in the evening. Charter cable still was out when I went to bed around 10:30 p.m. This is a house in the Buckhead section of Atlanta that we called home for many years. It’s now a rental home. Our tenants temporarily have moved out because the flood waters moved in. Making the house livable again comes in two stages.
First, a remediation company rips out the hardwood floors and the wallboard up to the water line..then drys the house ro prevent mold and other long-term damage. The contractor next week will begin restoring the house to make it livable again as soon as possible. Thank God, we have flood insurance!
Don Kennedy has hundreds of CDs he uses in his nationally syndicated radio show, “Big Band Jump”. He has hundreds of memories from his days as “Officer Don” on WSB-Televison’s “The Popeye Club”. “Ooey Gooey”, perhaps, was the most popular game played, but there were others. For example, “Flip the Spoon”.WE’LL TAKE A BREAK FROM THE MANY MEMORIES WITH DON KENNEDY. SATURDAY AND SUNDAY ARE RACE DAYS.
Don Kennedy will become an octogenarian in a few months. But his energy belies his age. Don’s nationally syndicated “Big Band Jump” is heard on more than one-hundred radio stations. But people remember him more for the “Officer Don” role he portrayed on WSB-Televsion more than 40 years ago….and some of the characters who appeared with him. Remember “Orvil, the Dragon”? Don says his “Big Band Jump” studio is small, the size of a large closet..about the same size as his home studio where he began as a teenager.
Today, I visited Don Kennedy in his Buckhead studio where he records the nationally syndicated “Big Band Jump”. But your memories are more about his days as Officer Don on WSB-Television’s “The Popeye Club”. It was the decade of the 60s. Don explains the show’s most memorable game, Ooey Gooey. In my time with Don , he shared many other personal memories as Officer Don… and his life out of uniform. You’ll read and hear those in future postings.
For a perspective on floods past, read Johnny Cash’s song:
My mamma always taught me that good things come from adversity if we put our faith in the Lord. We couldn’t see much good in the flood waters when they were causing us to have to leave home. But when the water went down, we found that they had washed a load of rich black bottom dirt on across our land. The following year, we had the best cotton crop we’d ever had. I remember hearing:
How high’s the water, momma? Two feet high and risin’. How high’s the water, papa? Two feet high and risin’. We can make it to the road in a homemade boat. That’s the only thing we got left that’ll float. It’s already over all the wheat and the oats. Two feet high and risin’. How high’s the water, mamma? Three feet high and risin’. How high’s the water, pappa? Three feet high and risin’. Well the hives are gone, I’ve lost my bees. The chickens are sleepin’ in the willow trees Cow’s in the water up past her knees. Three feet high and risin’. How high’s the water, mamma? Four feet high and risin’. How high’s the water, pappa? Four feet high and risin’ . Hey, come look thru the window pane, the bus is comin’, gonna take us to the train. Looks like we’ll be blessed with a little more rain. Four feet high ad risin’. How high’s the water,mamma? Five feet high and risin’. How high’s the water, pappa? Five feet high and risin’. Well the rails are washed out north of town. We gotta head for higher ground. We can’t come back till the water comes down. Five feet high and risin’. Five feet high and risin’
Unlike the delta farmlands of the 1930s, we in Georgia are not looking for our silver lining in the cotton crops, but perhaps jobs created by rebuilding will be our good thing that comes from adversity.
As I watch WSB-Television’s outstanding staff reports on the current flooding caused by the heavy rains, I’m reminded that not a lot changes through the years. Each time, we hear people say, “I’ve never seen anything like this.” We learn about people dying because of the high waters. There are heroic stories of rescues… and emotional moments as victims tearfully talk about their losses.
Behind the scenes, there are almost always more stories and video available than we’re able to get on the air. The photo-journalists often are the greatest behind-the-scenes contributors. You sometimes hear their names, but rarely see their faces.
As a reporter, fairness, accuracy and compassion long have been by touchstones. I particularly feel compassion when I see people rescuing animals. They depend on us so much. On WSB’s Monday coverage, I saw a man who went back inside a flooded home to save his sister’s cat.. a lady who went back to get her two small dogs…and a group moving a stable of horses to higher ground. Regardless of the sameness, the stories always will be new because the people are different… and they’re usually experiencing these often life-changing events for the first time.
Running’s not the only attraction that keeps us racing. Former Olympic Trials equestrian Jacque Myers cuddles up to these procelain horses at the Mall of Georgia just northeast of Atlanta. This was at the St.Jude Jaunt 5K for childrens’ cancer research.
These llamas were among the stars later in the day at the Art In The Park 5K and Festival. The event’s at Hurricane Shoals Park, about an hour northeast of Atlanta near Maysville, Georgia It rained on and off at both Sunday races. Here’s how the water looked and sounded at Hurricane Shoals. Finally, here’s how the St. Jude 5K ended for me.. closing on a woman just in front of me.