Use Vehicle Placard for Safety when Geocaching

October 12, 2014 at 5:26 pm (Geocaching, Personal, safety, security) (, , , )

I’m just putting out a little Public Service Announcement (PSA) today to encourage safety while geocaching.  Every year, we hear a couple of stories about folks who went geocaching and got lost or injured, and while things generally turn out ok, there are a few things one can do to ensure a happy ending to their day.  It’s mostly common sense, but crazy things still happen.  You don’t want to be one of the Darwin award winners for the year.  ((Note: for the uninitiated, the Darwin Awards are the annual awards given, often to surviving family members, for acts of incredible stupidity).  

It’s always a good idea to use the buddy system when geocaching, partly because it’s just fun to cache with a friend;  but for those occasional times when you just want to go it alone or no one is available to go with you, there are a few things you can do to make sure you arrive home safe and sound after logging those smileys for the day.  Always let someone know where you are, especially if you are going geocaching in a remote area.  Make sure you have your geokit with you which has geoswag, snacks, and water, in case you have a flat tire, car trouble, or an accident. An emergency battery pack for your cell phone is also a good idea, since we know having the GPS enabled on our iDevices runs the battery down much quicker.  I picked up a super little solar battery pack from Amazon for under $10 and it works great, giving me several hours of extra battery life.  It’s also a good idea to have at least a small first aid kit and an emergency whistle so you can let folks know where you are if your cell phone is lost, damaged, or dead. 

Geocacher Vehicle Placard

Another thing you can do is hang a geocaching placard from your rear view mirror.  I found a nifty placard design at the Geocacher University website.  It looks similar to a disabled placard, but it is green and has the familiar geocaching logo on it.  There are two large white spaces on either side.  One side is for vehicle and owner contact information. You can enter as much info there as you are comfortable with.  I listed my first initial and my last name. I didn’t want to list a phone number, knowing that police could easily verify my vehicle, and they could also access my phone number if needed.   The other side is for the geocache information.  You can enter the GC# for the cache, or even the actual geocache coordinates.  I printed a couple copies then took them to Kinko’s and had them laminated.  That way, I can use a dry erase marker to enter the GC# of the cache each time, and just erase it when I return to my vehicle.  

Sometimes, we think we’re going to just dash into a park a couple hundred yards off the road, so we leave all our gear in the car.  Then you trip over a log and end up with a badly sprained or broken ankle, and all of a sudden that quick trek into the park becomes a minor emergency.  I used to think it meant I was less independent if I had to let someone know where I was going.  Now that I’m older (and after working many years in the ER and ICU) I see that it is just the smart thing to do. This placard is a great addition to every geokit out there.  It lets folks know where you are, what you’re doing, and helps keep you safe at the same time.  That’s good for a smiley all by itself.  

Do you have any other ideas to promote safety when geocaching?  Let me know in the comments.  Until next time, be safe, and cache on!

Permalink Leave a Comment

Too Hot for Spot

July 10, 2014 at 9:34 pm (Current Events, Personal, Pets) (, , , )

Every year when school starts back, there are always stories about kids who have been left in a car or bus and succumbed to heat stroke.  But another  common issue is that of pets that are left in vehicles, often with fatal results.  

 

What many people don’t realize is that the temperature inside a vehicle can exceed 100ºF in just a few minutes, even in what seems to be pleasant outdoor conditions of 75º.  

 

Some things you can do if you must take your pet with you include keeping fresh drinking water and a bowl (keep water in a cooler or insulated bag with cold packs) and take your pet with you (on a leash) into pet-friendly stores.  You cannot rely on leaving the air-conditioning on, because it could malfunction and begin blowing hot air or shut off altogether. 


Dogs cannot cool themselves as easily as we do, and they don’t sweat like us.  They release heat by panting and thru their paws.  Their paw pads are sensitive and can burn easily.  If the asphalt and sidewalk are hot to you, they are hot for your pet. Walk them on grass or dirt instead of on the pavement.  

 

If you’re out and about and see an animal in a hot car, call animal control or 911 and stay until help arrives. Local law enforcement officials can enter the vehicle and rescue the pet. You can also alert store managers at local businesses.

   

 

VehicleTempChart

 This graph shows the outside temperature and the corresponding temperature inside a vehicle. As you can see, it only takes a few minutes for the temperature inside the vehicle to reach very dangerous levels. 


Symptoms of heatstroke include excessive panting, vomiting, discoloration of the tongue, rapid heart rate, glazed eyes, dizziness, and lethargy.  If your dog exhibits any of these symptoms, gradually lower their temperature by giving them water, placing a cold towel or ice pack on the head, neck, and chest, or immersing them in cool (not cold) water.  Call your veterinarian for further instructions and please take your pet to the vet for follow up care.


If you routinely travel with your pet, it is a good idea to keep a canine first aid kit with you.  Partnership for Animal Welfare has an excellent resource on their website for Canine First Aid Kits and Emergency Treatment, including a list of necessary supplies for you to make your own “Doggie First Aid Kit”. There are also links to ready-made kits that can be purchased. 

 


There are several flyers available online for free download.  Keep a few of these available with you to place on vehicles while you’re out and help educate others. 

 

Too Hot for Spot from PETA:  http://www.mediapeta.com/peta/pdf/toohotforspot_parkingspace.pdf

 

Overheating Kills  from ASPCA:  https://www.aspca.org/sites/default/files/pets-in-hot-cars.pdf

 

Hot Car Flyers from Humane Society: http://www.humanesociety.org/assets/pdfs/pets/hot_car_flyer.pdf


Taking a few minutes to get involved might save a dog’s life. 


Permalink Leave a Comment

End the Backlog of Unprocessed Rape Kits

January 18, 2014 at 4:31 am (Current Events, inspiration, Personal) (, , , , , , , , )

NewImage

An episode of Law & Order: SVU a couple years ago highlighted the backlog of unprocessed rape kits across the country.  Mariska Hargitay has portrayed Detective Olivia Benson since the show’s spin-off from Law & Order 13 years ago.  Jennifer Love Hewitt guest-starred on this particular show, giving an incredibly emotional performance as a repeat rape survivor.  Women are traumatized along the way after they survive the actual rape.  They must endure the agonizingly slow and invasive process of evidence collection, which can take 4-6 hours, to obtain the hair and body fluids for DNA collection.  The victims are tended by health care workers (hopefully, but not always, by a trained Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner). They must tell and re-tell their experience to police officers, legal representatives, mental health professionals, and more. Much of the time, the victim has no idea if her assailant has been arrested, if he is incarcerated, or if he is still out there, free to terrorize others. It is actually up to the victim to follow up and see if their kit has been tested. 

The DNA evidence is often instrumental in the identification and conviction of the rapist.  That is why it is essential that the victims go thru each step of the difficult process.  It is ridiculous that the victim has to follow up on whether or not her rape kit has been tested, but for many tens of thousands of women across the country, that’s just what they must do.  

NewImageDriven to become an advocate for sexual assault survivors after receiving so many moving letters from women telling her what they had endured, Mariska Hargitay founded the Joyful Heart Foundation in 2004 to help the survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence “heal and reclaim their lives”.  The Joyful Heart Foundation is committed to helping end the rape kit backlog. To this end, they have launched endthebacklog.org, with the goal of ending the backlog of untested rape kits, and identifying best practices for eliminating this backlog by increasing public awareness at every level: local, state, and federal.

Every two minutes, someone is raped in America. One staggering statistic from the FBI notes that only 24% of reported rape cases result in an arrest. The enormous backlog in untested rape kits has a lot to do with it.  At an average cost of $1200 for each kit tested, many crime labs and police departments simply do not have the necessary resources to process the kits. The backlog not only allows the rapist to get away with his crime, it also prevents the victim from getting justice.  In many cases, the rapist will rape again and again.  Survivors deserve justice.  

In New York City, the arrest rate for rape went from 40% to 70% after the city eliminated its rape kit backlog in 2003.  In Detroit, after testing began on more than 11,000 kits, over 100 potential serial rapists were identified from just the first 1600 kits tested.  In August, a $500,000 grant was awarded to the Memphis Police Department to screen untested rape kits.  They would be able to send 2226 kits for preliminary testing, which would still leave over 10,000 kits untested, some of those dating from the 1980’s.  It makes me sick to my stomach to think about over 10,000 untested kits sitting on a shelf somewhere in my hometown, kits that could put criminals behind bars for the rest of their lives, and kits that could bring closure and peace to some of my friends. 

What can you do?  Help spread the word about the rape kit backlog.  Use social media to tell others.  They have an excellent and informative website, and the pages can be quickly and easily shared, just by clicking the Twitter or Facebook icons.  You can help end the backlog.  
 

Permalink Leave a Comment

Start Your New Year with Day One

January 1, 2014 at 6:43 pm (Applications, iDevices, iPhone/iPod Touch, Personal, Productivity, shareware, writing) (, , , , , )

Happy New Year!  Another year beginning, another year ending, resolutions to make, resolutions to break.  I’m not being pessimistic, just realistic.  In the past couple of weeks with the old winding down and getting ready to give way to the new, I’ve had several friends ask me if I still journal, and if so, what app I use.  

I have always jotted down thoughts here and there, since I was a kid and got my “First Diary”.  You remember those, right?  They were little books with a cardboard flap and a couple of flimsy keys that anyone with a pair of scissors or a paperclip could get into; but we were young, so we thought it was locked up tight.  But, how things have changed.  Well, sort of.  They still make those for the kiddies, but our adult selections are so much better.  Most of the ones you actually write in no longer have locks, and are made of leather, pleather, vinyl, card stock, etc. and can be found ruled, as a grid, or blank.   

Day One Icon

But, for those who have transitioned to the digital world, (wait for it…), there’s an app for that. (You had to know it was coming). Actually, there are a lot of apps for that now, and quite a few good choices. But the one that has won my heart is the award-winning Day One.  It is a truly wonderful app for Mac, and there is a universal companion app, which is an excellent standalone app in its own right, for the iPhone and iPad. 

It is incredibly easy to get started, and you won’t even have to read any how-to guides to get up and running.  Their tag line is “Record life as you live it”, and the app’s design makes it easy to do just that. The interface is simple, clean, and minimalistic. Data that is automatically entered includes date and time, location, weather, photo EXIF, activity (walking, biking, running), and music playing. There is tagging and Markdown support, as well as customized reminders that you can set to be sent daily or weekly at certain times. The app really shines with its organizational abilities, as you can view past entries using the calendar, maps, photos, timeline, and more. Day One’s Mac version has a nifty little Menu Bar quick entry feature where you can (just like it sounds) make an entry right from the Menu Bar without opening the application. That’s great for a quick notation, or even a longer one when you’re not attaching a photo. Automatic backups keep your data safe as well.

Your entries can be synced from your Mac to and across your iDevices using iCloud or Dropbox.  I will say that I tried to use iCloud, and I really wanted to use it to save my rapidly filling Dropbox space.  But, I kept having issues with it, and in the end, it was just easier to disable iCloud syncing and go with Dropbox.  I haven’t had the first issue since the switch.  

Entries can be shared by emailing to friends and family or posting to social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook. Day One also creates individual webpages at dayone.me for any entires you want to publish. I’ve seen examples of it used for almost anything you can imagine, for typical writing and journaling, for research, for reviewing books, movies, and other media, as a work journal and timekeeper, as a travel and mileage log, as a prayer book and inspirational guide, and much more. 

I must say that it is a joy to use Day One.  I use it for jotting quick notes about events or captioning a photo, as well as making more personal longer entries or capturing special events. I’ve also been using it to log geocaching adventures, as well as ideas for my own devious geocaches to hide.  Give it a try and let me know what you think.  

You can get more information about Day One at its website here.  The Desktop version for Mac is available thru the Mac App Store for $9.99 and the Universal version for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch is $4.99. Now go jot down all your resolutions, then use Day One to write about them. Once you start using it, you’ll be likely to continue.  Enjoy!

Permalink Leave a Comment

Start a Christmas Tradition with Elf on the Shelf

December 8, 2013 at 8:41 pm (Humor, inspiration, Personal) (, , , , )

I’m always a little envious when I hear people talking about family traditions.  We never had any traditions.  So, when I heard about the Elf on the Shelf, my ears perked, and I started thinking that it could be a nifty little tradition, not only for Malissa and me, but for us to have with Stephanie, my 7-year old cousin, who is more like my niece, but you get the idea.

NewImage

 So, here’s the premise, as told in the book that includes the elf:   the elf has been sent by Santa to keep an eye on their assigned child and report back to Santa; the elf, who is named by your child, appears around Thanksgiving, and relocates within their assigned home each evening…some creative parents leave treats and little “happies” as a gift from the elf for the child;  the elf is not to be touched by the child(ren) in the home, or else he loses his magic; consequences for touching the elf is that he loses his magic and must return to Santa for a period of time; the elf returns to Santa on Christmas Eve each year.  

It’s already a bit too late this year, but you can bet I’ll be ordering my very own elf (likely from Amazon) during the after-holiday sales.  They are a rather hefty $30-40 right now, but a friend told me she got hers last year after the first of the year for about $15.  That’s much more doable.  This will be a great little tradition for us, and I can use my extra time planning all sorts of little treats and crafts.  If I start now, I just might be ready by next Christmas 🙂  
Happy Holidays!

Permalink Leave a Comment

End the Backlog of Unprocessed Rape Kits

October 15, 2013 at 6:18 am (inspiration, Personal) (, , , , , , , , )

NewImage

An episode of Law & Order: SVU a couple years ago highlighted the backlog of unprocessed rape kits across the country.  Mariska Hargitay has portrayed Detective Olivia Benson since the show’s spin-off from Law & Order 13 years ago.  Jennifer Love Hewitt guest-starred on this particular show, giving an incredibly emotional performance as a repeat rape survivor.  Women are traumatized along the way after they survive the actual rape.  They must endure the agonizingly slow and invasive process of evidence collection, which can take 4-6 hours to obtain the hair and body fluids for DNA collection.  The victims are tended by health care workers, hopefully, but not always, by a trained Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner. They must tell and re-tell their experience to police officers, legal representatives, mental health professionals and more. Much of the time, the victim has no idea if her assailant has been arrested, if he is incarcerated, or if he is still out there, free to terrorize others. It is actually up to the victim to follow up and see if their kit has been tested. 

The DNA evidence is often instrumental in the identification and conviction of the rapist.  That is why it is essential that the victims go thru each step of the difficult process.  It is ridiculous that the victim has to follow up on whether or not her rape kit has been tested, but for many tens of thousands of women across the country, that’s just what they must do.  

NewImageDriven to become an advocate for sexual assault survivors after receiving so many moving letters from women telling her what they had endured, Mariska Hargitay founded the Joyful Heart Foundation in 2004 to help the survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence “heal and reclaim their lives”.  The Joyful Heart Foundation is committed to helping end the rape kit backlog. To this end, they have launched endthebacklog.org, with the goal of ending the backlog of untested rape kits, and identifying best practices for eliminating this backlog by increasing public awareness at every level: local, state, and federal.

Every two minutes, someone is raped in America. One staggering statistic from the FBI notes that only 24% of reported rape cases result in an arrest. The enormous backlog in untested rape kits has a lot to do with it.  At an average cost of $1200 for each kit tested, many crime labs and police departments simply do not have the necessary resources to process the kits. The backlog not only allows the rapist to get away with his crime, it also prevents the victim from getting justice.  In many cases, the rapist will rape again and again.  Survivors deserve justice.  

In New York City, the arrest rate for rape went from 40% to 70% after the city eliminated its rape kit backlog in 2003.  In Detroit, after testing began on more than 11,000 kits, over 100 potential serial rapists were identified from just the first 1600 kits tested.  In August, a $500,000 grant was awarded to the Memphis Police Department to screen untested rape kits.  They would be able to send 2226 kits for preliminary testing, which would still leave over 10,000 kits untested, some of those dating from the 1980’s.  It makes me sick to my stomach to think about over 10,000 untested kits sitting on a shelf somewhere in my hometown, kits that could put criminals behind bars for the rest of their lives, and kits that could bring closure and peace to some of my friends. 

What can you do?  Help spread the word about the rape kit backlog.  Use social media to tell others.  They have an excellent and informative website, and the pages can be quickly and easily shared, just by clicking the Twitter or Facebook icons.  You can help end the backlog.  
 

Permalink Leave a Comment

Lay/N/Go Bag is Great Travel Companion

April 27, 2013 at 6:40 am (Personal, Products, Travel) (, , , , , )

20130427-062937.jpg

Ok, folks, for all of you who have cosmetics spread all over the bathroom counter, or you have lots of stuff in several little bags, or you’re on a business trip and you realize your favorite concealer didn’t make the trip with you….there is a new product for you. It’s called the Lay N’ Go Bag and it is beyond awesome!

I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not big into makeup anymore, but I do wear it for special events, church, and things like that. I started using Cat Cosmetics makeup developed by actress, entertainer, and entrepreneur, Catherine Hickland, a few years ago. My face and I were unhappy with the expensive high end products I was using and, while looking for an alternative, I came across Cat’s product line. I liked that they were natural, not tested on animals, good for sensitive skin, and worked with all skin types. Best of all, they were affordable, and the customer service was top-notch. She had put together a small kit that contained six products: a concealer, blush, eye shadows, and liner, plus applicators. I tried it and loved it. I got a couple other products and was hooked. There was no going back.

Fast forward a few years. I had been looking for a bag in which to keep cosmetics while traveling. A couple of trips last month showed us that we were woefully underprepared. I happened to see Cat post about a new bag she found, and it looked interesting. It didn’t do anything for the part of me that wanted some organizational aid, but there was something liberating about just dumping everything in a pile on the counter then scooping it all up together. We decided to take the plunge and order our own Lay N’ Go Bag.

It arrived today, and (I’m slightly embarrassed to say) I had to watch the short video to figure out how to close it. LOL. I kept trying to “open” it…It was so easy that I was making it difficult. I must admit, I felt pretty dumb once I saw how simple it was 😉 You just lay the bag flat, put all your stuff on it, then pull the drawstring. It scoops everything up like a bowl, then you slide the cord lock down and it’s secure.

It is just amazing! It truly holds a ton of stuff, plus it has a large inner zipper pocket and a small outer velcro pocket. It’s also water repellant and washable, thanks to the nylon and poly fabric. Another little bonus is that it comes inside its own little drawstring bag, so you actually get a cute little bonus bag. This may be one of the coolest things I’ve ever bought…it is just so practical.

You don’t even have to use it just for cosmetics. Obviously, it’s great for that, but I’ve already been thinking about other uses for this bag. It would work equally well for guys and gals, and would be just as good for a business trip as a weekend getaway. An artist could toss a handful of paint tubes in a bag and head out to a specific location. Toss a handful of toys on it and scoop them up for a quick and easy rescue pack for kids (or the babysitter, ha). It is available in black for $29.95, or silver or gold for $34.95.

Above is a snapshot of the bag with most of my Cat Cosmetics inside…I was skeptical, but you can see how much it holds. Fantastic! Order yours from Cat Cosmetics, and let me know what you think. Cheers!

Permalink Leave a Comment

Tea Time

April 1, 2013 at 12:58 am (Personal) (, , )

Most Southerners like their tea one way: iced and syrupy sweet. You think that’s two ways? Not in the South! 😉

Maybe it’s because I went to the UK in my teens and fell in love with the concept of “tea time” or maybe because I’ve spent a lot of time in Canada, actually taking part in afternoon tea, where the world stops at 4p no matter what you’re doing. I actually love tea, both hot and cold, and I enjoy trying new ones.

Although i’ve tried a LOT of teas, i’m still very much a newbie at this. I can vary the temp a bit, but i don’t have a newfangled machine to do it for me…not yet, anyway. I’ve gotten away from bags and now I use the real stuff: loose tea. I can thank my buddy, Nik, for that. Also, thanks to him giving me one of the best gifts ever with Steepster’s Tea of the Month club, through which I have greatly expanded my knowledge of teas, and, hopefully my palate as well.

I wrote a review and some tasting notes for 3 teas that are near and dear to my heart. On any given day, I might declare any of the three my favorite. They are Samovar’s Ocean of Wisdom, Teavana’s Rooibos Chai, and Della Terra’s Ayurvedic Serenity. All three are terrific blends incorporating some of my favorite spices: cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, and chamomile, among others.

IMG 0443

I’ve found that most folks tend to fuss about cinnamon, Like fuss and cuss. Now, thankfully, I’m in the minority there. i LOVE cinnamon. Bring it on! The more, the merrier, for the most part. Ginger, on the other hand, is slightly opposite…not so much because i don’t like the flavor, because i do. Mostly, it’s because it tends to initiate a migraine, which doesn’t make me very happy. However, and very thankfully, I have no neurological issues with these three. They are so good that I think I would just have to accept the migraine and take medication. Yep, they’re THAT good.

Its goodness shouldn’t be a great surprise to supporters of Ocean of Wisdom, which has been my favorite tea for a couple of years. I mean, honestly, it was custom blended for His Holiness The Dalai Lama. To me, that just says, “Wow”. It also says the dude knows good tea 😉

Seriously, though, I first had this tea just after I’d started drinking loose teas, when I was in San Francisco for Macworld. A group of us went to Samovar’s for tea, and I was hooked after my first sip. I simply could not get enough. I kept discovering something new with each successive sip, with just layer upon layer expressing itself. Maybe it was just the first time I’d had a truly excellent cup of tea that wasn’t Earl Grey.

Regarding the tea itself, Ocean of Wisdom has almost a subdued heat to it that builds to a strong finish, almost the way good Mexican food has a way to sneak up on you before you realize what has happened. It is loaded with vitamins and antioxidants, so it’s actually really good for you. Considering all the health issues I’ve had for the past few years, maybe I need to just hook up a permanent infusion and see what happens. This rooibos blend contains cinnamon, cloves, ginger, licorice root, and black pepper. Normally, I run from licorice, because I don’t typically like it, not even a hint; but (you knew there was a but, right?) I don’t really taste it here, which is a good thing, because I would hate to run from this tea. These tea leaves are a dark reddish brown that leaves you with a gorgeous clear red tea after steeping that just beckons you to, “Come. Drink.”

There are many levels to this one. Just when you think you’re done, another layer pops to the surface—or does it come up kicking and screaming and gasping for air—the way I was when I made it a bit strong, so that it took my breath away and my throat burned long after the last drop.

Still, Ocean of Wisdom sets the bar against which all other teas are judged. This is the closest to a perfect cup of tea that I have ever had. I can’t imagine anything else even coming close to this one, but it will be fun trying to find a successor. Let the games begin.

(Note: The above photo was taken at Samovar Tea Lounge, Yerba Buena Gardens, in San Francisco just outside Moscone Center during Macworld 2011. That’s Pugsy, who goes everywhere with me, sitting on top of a pot of Ocean of Wisdom.)

Permalink Leave a Comment

The Angels Cried Today

March 5, 2013 at 8:25 am (Personal) (, , , )

It rained yesterday as I drove home to Memphis from Knoxville. I believe the angels were crying tears of joy at the addition of a new angel in Heaven, and tears of sadness in empathy for the pain we feel over the loss of Aunt Hazel. 

Aunt Hazel Then and Now

Some of my fondest memories are of spending countless days and nights at the house in the mountains, at a location aptly named Top O’ the World. The house had a screened in porch across the back, which looked out at the mountains and the valley below.  Aunt Hazel loved to look at the night sky.  We would spend hours just talking and looking at the moon and stars. She taught me how to identify such landmarks as the North Star, the Little and Big Dippers, Orion the Hunter, and more. Frequently, we would head over to Cades Cove with other family members to picnic by a babbling brook, sometimes even sharing our bounty (intentionally or not!) with the bears, raccoons, and skunks. Toasting marshmallows was, and still is, one of my favorite things to do. Back at the house, we would join my other aunts, uncles, and cousins, and play board games such as Trouble, Sorry, and Life, well into the night.

She was a big sports fan, and we loved to talk about Tennessee football and basketball.  I don’t know who I will talk to about our Lady Vols basketball team during March Madness 🙂 The world was a better place with her in it, and I was certainly a better person because of her. I will miss her greatly.

Here’s an early photo along with a more recent one taken in her beloved Cades Cove in the Smoky Mountains.

Permalink Leave a Comment

Dinner with a Legend

June 10, 2012 at 8:58 pm (inspiration, Personal, sports, ut) (, , , , )

Pat Summitt and CC jpg

I hope I will never forget one of the greatest moments of my life: I had dinner with Coach Pat Summitt. It means even more to me now, since her battle with Alzheimer’s Disease has forced her to step down from her head coaching position at the University of Tennessee, where she is now Head Coach Emeritus. President Obama awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom last month, the highest civilian honor one can receive. 

But back to our dinner.  It was a fund raiser of some sort, the details are lost to me now. But I went with my father, who is a UT graduate, and has always been active in university affairs and a member of various boards. So, we arrived a little early to the event, and I was looking around to see where Coach Summitt was going to be sitting. I remember telling Daddy that I hoped she was close enough that I could see her. He just smiled a little and said he thought I’d be able to see her just fine. 

Just as I was making my way to the table, I heard a familiar voice call out from behind me.  “Hey, Leonard, how are you?” Daddy turned and said, “Well, hello Pat. It’s good to see you again.”  I’m not usually one to get star-struck, but I absolutely could not find any words as I found myself face to face with Pat Summitt–well, not quite face to face–she is quite tall.  But still. I just stood there while Daddy made introductions. She shook my hand, warmly and firmly. She asked me a few general questions as we walked toward the table. She stopped at a seat, smiled at me,  and said, “Well, it looks like we’ll be having dinner together tonight”.  I looked at Daddy, who was sporting a mile-wide grin.  He said, “Oh, did I forget to mention that to you?”  I nearly fainted.  I giggled, then hugged him, then hugged her. She was laughing, too, and told me to “just relax. I put my pants on one leg at a time, just like you do”. 

I did begin to relax and the next couple of hours flew by in a blur. We chatted like old friends as we ate. We taIked a little about basketball, but mostly about other things: our shared love for our four-legged friends and driving fast, fond memories of the peace and quiet of farm life and country cooking, a well-played game, and a well-played prank (the sense of humor came thru). I could not possibly come up with enough adequate adjectives to describe her over the course of that two hours.  She was at times the most engaging, generous, funny, warm, witty, intelligent, kind, successful, determined, courageous, self-deprecating, humble, and considerate woman I have ever met. She left a lasting impression on me that night, the night Pat came to dinner. 

Permalink Leave a Comment

Next page »