The Smith's write on, and on . . .

By Tim Smith

Where A r [ts] Thou?

It is with renewed spirit that I say farewell to 2020 and embrace all that a new year will hold. Tomorrow evening, as the clock ticks one final time in this “three-month normal year,” I’m confident that creativity will continue to shape this decade’s nine-year future.

Hope-filled New Year’s greetings to you and your family.

That’s my Will, Rogers: For December 31, 1933: Santa Monica, Cal – “Well, the old year will be passing out in a few hours, and I don’t know personally of a thing that I can do about it. I guess there will be a lot of people who will take it up with the government, as they look to them to do everything else.

“I have received I pamphlet and small book forms several plans to prolong the old year. They all say if they can just get their plans adopted that it will do the work. Of course the question arises as to whether it has been a year that the brain trusters want to prolong. I have no doubt they have schemes to do it, so we will have to just wait till tomorrow to see if they have done it.

“Yours, Will Rogers.”

Looking for a few good mentors: Writers are always looking for those that inspire, and never intentionally trying to duplicate. In the number of words selected to paint word pictures that would one day win him the first Pulitzer Prize for Commentary, Red Smith has few equals, and to that end, I labor mightily to learn each week to let brevity reign.

What hopefully sinks into my subconscious are his word choices, and with continued practice, my goal is to refine and then to share.

American Pastimes: The Very Best of Red Smith: Edited by Daniel Okrent (with an afterword by Terence Smith, Red Smith’s son) is a compilation of Mr. Smith’s, (no familial relation), finest work.

From the book’s jacket: “Spanning nearly fifty years and gathering many hard-to-find pieces, American Pastimes includes profiles of sports luminaries, which show Smith’s gift for distilling a career’s essence . . . Unforgettable accounts of historic occasions – Bobby Thompson’s Shot Heard ‘Round the World, Don Larsen’s perfect game in the 1956 World Series, the first Ali-Frazier fight, the death of Seabiscuit – are joined by more offbeat stories that display Smith’s unmistakable wit, intelligence, and breadth of feeling.”

In the “Afterword,” Terence Smith reflects: “In my memory, Pop was always writing a column, in a press box at the ballpark or racetrack, in his basement office at home, in a plane or train, in the family car on summer vacation trips to Wisconsin. He would balance his Olivetti portable on his knees in the passenger seat, typing as my mother drove, shushing my sister . . . and me in the back seat. Once, when we moved into our house in Connecticut, he had the movers set up a table and chair beneath a tree and wrote a column there. It was moving day, but his deadline was looming, as always.”

His knowledge of sport, from baseball to fishing will leave you wondering how he found time to write.

DU @ 50: Over the next year, and each month, I will focus on the outstanding education I received during my four years attending college in Missouri where I studied theatre while concurrently earning teacher certification.

Fifty years this coming June, I received my diploma from Drury University, {it was Drury College @ the time), and over the last five decades I have wanted to salute the period with a wider audience. This is that time, and the goal is to offer a greater understanding and appreciation for the role smaller institutions play in our nation’s higher education mission. Drury will also celebrate its 150th birthday in 2023.

Millennial tastes: It has been wonderful having our youngest son home for the holidays, he brings such intense perspectives on so many areas of life, especially the creative. What is it they say about the apple not falling too far from the tree?

He introduced us to a NETFLIX series, directed and hosted by Jon Favreau, (the talent behind Disney’s, “The Mandalorian”), titled “The Chef Show.”

Mr. Favreau, along with his co-host/producer, chef extraordinaire, Roy Choi, meet and embrace the techniques of other top chefs, with a few celebrity gastronomic excursions thrown in, and attempt to recreate their signature works.

Check it out, but embrace on a full stomach.

The words, the smells wafting from the kitchen, remember when.

Connections made, locally inspired, from our towns, since 1/'06.

“Seeing” you, too, in '21 – and in the local paper.

t A s

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