THE IDLE AMERICAN: Old-Timer Doubts Thomas

Published 9:33 pm Saturday, December 8, 2018

Commentary by Dr. Don Newbury

The caller was gracious, complimentary and far more composed than some of the senators who “duked it out” during the recent Supreme Court confirmation hearings.  Before long, though, he uttered an often-chilling word:  “however.”

It usually suggests a change of direction, usually downward. “You made a mistake in last week’s column,” he advised.

Oh, I could argue being “half right,” but he had good reason to “doubt my Thomases.”

Jim Bronstad of Corsicana was right, of course, in challenging a quote I had attributed to Thomas (Hollywood) Henderson. It actually belongs to Duane Thomas, who, like Henderson, played for the Dallas Cowboys in the 1970s.

Whatever, it was Duane who questioned why so many people believed the Super Bowl to be “the ultimate game.” He asked, “Aren’t they playing the game again next year?” That’s probably his most memorable quote.

In my defense, I should receive half-credit for getting “Thomas” right. Further, this allows me to mention Thomas “Hollywood” Henderson’s wonderful line slamming Pittsburgh Steeler Quarterback Terry Bradshaw’s IQ. “He’s so dumb, he couldn’t spell “cat” if you spotted him the “c” and the “t.”

I thanked Mr. Bronstad, asking him to “cut me some slack,” and that at age 81, I still try hard to get things right.

He responded that he’s 93. I asked him what has helped most to attain this age.

“Well, for one thing, I haven’t requested ‘slack-cutting’ very often.”

Neither Thomas nor Henderson endeared themselves to legendary Coach Tom Landry, who probably wasn’t sure what to do with either of them.

Henderson played for six professional teams, and after football, became “clean and sober” of drug and alcohol problems in 1984.

He twice won the lottery, once for $28 million and another or $20,000. He established an Austin, TX, a charity called East Side Youth Services and Street Outreach.

Uncle Mort, who lives down in the thicket, has reached age 106.  Right now, he’s working on a kit that can turn fishing rods into extensions for smartphones. “I’ll make it a whole lot easier to make ‘selfies’,” he claims. (I didn’t have the heart to tell him they already have manufactured extensions available at modest prices.)

He asked me if I know how the “selfie” term came about, and I admitted being clueless.

“Because ‘narcissistic’ is too hard to spell,” he laughed.

A preacher friend, now 90, keeps on chugging. He’s been in ministry for more than 70 years and was a seminary professor for almost half of that time.

He recalls many church arguments, skirmishes, and disagreements.

Some of them, he remembers, didn’t rise to the level of minutia.

One church–like a host of others–had “record signs” hanging, to the left and right, on the wall facing the congregation. They had changeable letters and numbers, used mostly to display attendance, giving, baptisms and the like.

During a period of remodeling, two indentions in the lobby wall were made so the signs could be placed there. For weeks, they were secretly moved back and forth from their longtime placement on the sanctuary wall to the new wall placement in the lobby.

Opinions varied and became heated, so a church business meeting was called. There was much discussion, followed by a vote. The minutes of the meeting suggested the secretary may have revealed a personal bias. “The church voted Sunday night for the record signs to be hung back on the sanctuary wall, where they belong.”

On the other end of the age scale, a four-year-old girl, thrust into soccer play, remained motionless on the opposite end of the field from where the action was occurring.

“Hurry up and run down there where the other girls are,” her mother screamed.

There’s no reason to, Mom,” she protested. “They’ll be right back.” You know, she may have a valid point.


Dr. Newbury is a former educator who “commits speeches” roundabout. Comments/inquiries to: Phone: 817-447-3872. Website: Twitter: @donnewbury. Facebook: don Newbury.