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Dalton Roberts

Stories by Dalton

When people ask what I am most proud of from my years as county executive, they are often shocked that I don't talk about jobs and things like the Tennessee Riverpark.

Like a Civil War soldier blown open by artillery fire during the Battle of Chattanooga, the old Osage orange tree helplessly laid there on the ground of the courthouse Wednesday.

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Chancellor Roger Brown made a wise and, in my opinion, a Christian decision in substituting a few moments of silence for prayer at football games.

When my sister lived in Ocala, Fla., she sent me a column written by a psychologist/columnist there. He advocated barring children from restaurants because he thought their behavior had become too disruptive and distractive. He created a storm of protests.

These questions came as a result of last week’s column on bluegrass.

Few people who came to hear me in most of the local country and rock music venues for four decades know that I started out playing bluegrass.

We gained so much more than we lost in building an aquarium and all the riverfront developments, but our biggest loss as a community was missing the opportunity to build a first-class vocational school at or near Chattanooga State Community College.

One thing wrong with writing on medical topics is that you can never cover a subject in one column, and you always get a lot of feedback from readers you feel you should share.

The wife of TV minister Robert Schuller noticed that he became unmotivated after his 70th birthday. She told him to write down his goals for the next 20 years of his life.

Someone once told me the real purpose of life is to use our greatest talents to succeed, and I thought to myself, "That's only half of life." The other part is to tune into our failures for information.

James Rouse came here to help us in the renaissance of Chattanooga and became "Mr. Creativity" to me. I loved to hear him philosophize.

When I have a bird I don't recognize in my backyard or in one of my boxes, I see it as a chance to learn.

An unwelcome bird tried to enter a box containing a family of what I think are Tennessee warblers in my yard. It reminded me of all the dangers birds face every day in our backyards.

Let's face it: These are difficult days for the Democrats of Hamilton County and Tennessee. When a lifelong Democrat like Bill Knowles jumps ship, you know something isn't right.

Einstein said, "There are two ways to live your life: You can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle."

There's an attitude floating around among us that newspapers are old-fashioned and all other media are modern -- especially computers. I hold a different view. I see newspapers as ever-fresh, new and modern no matter how long they have been around.

When you start backyard birding, you will try a lot of ideas from the "experts" that won't work for you. Just quickly get rid of anything that doesn't work. Don't keep them around to aggravate you as I have done.

I noticed in my 40s that I cried more easily. As soon as I became aware of this, I began trying to figure it out. See if my ideas make sense to you.

Wrens have always been one of my favorite birds. Going all the way back to my college days when I took ornithology at Trevecca College, I have loved wrens.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This column is adapted from Dalton Roberts' soon-to-be-published autobiography.

This town has not done a good job honoring Bessie Smith. We built a blues hall. Then when we didn't really want blues performances, we turned it smoothly into a "cultural center" when the only thing cultural about Bessie was her blues.

I have no expectation of a neighbor, except that they be honest and pleasant and neighborly. I never expected one to be perfect, but Theo King was, in the words of a song by the group Alabama, "Close Enough to Perfect for Me."

If you want to get spanked until your nose bleeds, just write a column about some sports issues of the day and make a mistake. The sports fanatics will swarm you like chickens on a junebug.

One of the protesters camped out on the courthouse lawn called me and asked what I thought of their protest. I asked, "What is it you are protesting?" and after fumbling a little with his answer, he finally said, "I am not sure."

Something is wrong with Peyton Manning. I don't care if his neck operation is a success and he can thread a needle with a football, something is wrong in his gourd.

Words play a dominant role in human society, but we fail to fully realize this. We use our words carelessly and thoughtlessly. A writer needs to love words, but even nonwriters should develop a healthy respect for them.

Years ago I first saw a bumper strip with the message "It's never too late to have a happy childhood." It has been popularized since then, but the message it carries still has not been taken to heart by most people.

Owls are nocturnal creatures and are equipped with special eyes to see in the dark. Yet for weeks I have heard an owl hooting long after daylight, and the other morning when I went to my birdwatching window, there he sat on the swing set!

Someone scolded me for not listing Bessie Smith in last week’s column on the best local singers and song interpreters. I have written often about Bessie and even wrote an entire CD titled “Tribute to Bessie Smith,” but I am always happy to honor her again.

Thanks to the newspaper's Current section on Fridays and the online listings by Bob Payne, we can know where most local entertainers are performing each night of the week.

This morning I had coffee with my late friend Joe Anderson.

Sitting at Karl's Family Restaurant on Hixson Pike one recent drizzly day waiting for breakfast, I heard continual grousing about "the nasty rainy day."

I have often written about Long John Cardinal, the one-legged cardinal I had for five years. But I haven't written about his sex drive almost killing him.

A lady who worked for Hospice of Memphis thrilled me describing a service they provide. It's called a "life review," and they started doing it when they realized how many of their patients didn't feel good about the life they had lived.

I want to share a secret with you today about myself that is, frankly, a little embarrassing to a bashful Watering Trough boy. The only condition is that you must promise to never tell anyone about it.

Truth is an idea that so completely resonates with you that it motivates you deeply, causing you to aspire to new heights, drawing the highest and best energies from the very depths of your being.

I was expelled from school in the 10th grade. No injustice was done. I should have been expelled a year earlier.

Former Chattanooga Times reporter and columnist Barney Morgan was on my staff the last years of my government work, and after work he would bring a reporter's pad up to my office and get me to tell some of my most exciting political tales.

Just minutes ago, I opened the blinds of my bird-watching window, and it aggravated me to see a starling clinging to the bottom of my wire-basket suet feeder. Suet cakes are fairly expensive, and I don't care to see starlings consume them. But an hour later I saw a downy woodpecker feasting there, and it pleased me.

Musician and computer whiz Donnie Jenkins often gives me insights into important things, and when I had lunch with him recently, he said, "The problem with America these days is disconnection."

Surprise gifts are the best. They seem to stick longer and clearer in our memory. When I was a child, my father sometimes rode us to church on a streetcar.

A man once sought my counsel when he was considering running for mayor, and I could see that he was full of fears and trepidations. I did not encourage him. The last thing we need is a mayor who is afraid of making a mistake.

Denis Waitley says, "Real success comes in small portions day by day. You need to take pleasure in life's little treasures. It is the most important thing in measuring success."

Faye Field tells how her mother came to spend Thanksgiving with her one year, and as they set the table, her mother said, "I wish you had sterling-silver tableware like your sister."

I jokingly said to a pretty waitress at Waffle House the other day, "You are so pretty I would fall madly in love with you if I didn't like you so much."

Last week's column on the local Medal of Honor Museum drew an interesting assortment of responses, ranging from invitations to come and see where the local project is now to an opinion that "if any city should have a national museum it should be Pueblo, Colo. -- the only city to proudly claim four MOH recipients."

One ball that we dropped here was the chance to build a true Medal of Honor Museum. I would still love to see one built somewhere to honor those who have earned the nation's highest military honor.

I once heard that we should cherish all of our happy moments because they make a fine cushion for old age. I would add the thought that happy moments make a good cushion for any age. Our younger years are the time we are most prone to lose a record of the

When I first heard that Steve Jobs of Apple had died at 56, I was sad because I have become a Mac fanatic. He developed the Mac and an incredible array of high-tech products we now take for granted.

I was heartened by Sen. Lamar Alexander's leaving a strictly partisan group and declaring he intends to seek solutions to our national problems through communication with Democrats as well as Republicans.

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