Vaya con Dios, Coach Neely

Mike Neely, longtime president of the Odessa YMCA, is retiring.

Maybe you saw the article in the paper or, like many, knew him personally. I didn’t, or at least I never knew anyone by that name.

There was a Mike Neely who seemed to practically rebuild the YMCA during the past 10 years, but I never met this Mike person. I only ever knew one guy named Neely, and I always call him “Coach.”

Before he took the job at the YMCA, he was a seventh-grade coach at Bonham Junior High, and his first and last year there was the first of my three.

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A short history of everybody for the past 13,000 years

Editor and fellow columnist Gene Powell reads much more than I do and usually does the book reviews. Well, I’ve read two books, written by different authors for different reasons, and written years ago, but together they’re histories of the world, part one from 11,000 B.C. to A.D. 1,500, and part two from A.D. 1500 to 2000.

No, they’re not related to the Mel Brooks film. Sorry.

Jared Diamond’s book “Guns, Germs, and Steel” is based on geographic determinism, why where people are from resulted in the state of the world today.

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You don’t have to be a gardener to get a green thumb

“To be a gardener, it isn’t enough to love flowers; one must hate weeds.” – Anon.

I’m no gardener, and find flowers to be only so-so, but I do hate weeds.

In the trunk of my car I keep a hoe and a pair of work gloves. The other day, I was talking to a friend in a restaurant parking lot after a meal. I kept getting distracted and finally told him to wait a moment while I got the gloves and pulled up an especially egregious thistle sticking up through asphalt nearby.

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Pixar really is the best there is at what they do

On Friday, the latest 3D-animated Pixar film “Up” came out, and I was in the audience to see it. Of course I was.

Now, I love words. Well, I love lots of things, but I’m a writer and I love words in particular. As a copy editor, I’m virtually awash in them, although it’s less easy to love them around deadline. And even if I don’t read books or literature as much as I should, I appreciate them and their place in the world immensely.

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