OP-ED: THE IDLE AMERICAN – Steady in the boat

Published 12:32 am Sunday, April 4, 2021

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Don Newbury

It’s an expression tossed about regularly; calling it “trite” would be an understatement for the proverb originating in 12th century Germany that is still valid today.

Just as rivers still run downstream, hot air rises and cream comes to the top, blood remains thicker than water now like when it was coined nine centuries ago.

It applies to one Danny Andrews, a longtime newspaper editor whose relocation to Burleson, Texas, after 68 years in Plainview, Texas, is understood by other grandparents who likewise know that “blood is thicker than water.”  Two of Danny and wife Carolyn’s three children now live in the Metroplex, where also abide six grandchildren, and soon to be seven.

The couple had deep roots in Plainview. Except for his first nine months of life, Danny had lived only in Plainview; his wife moved there from Lamesa as a high school freshman. They moved from Plainview almost four years ago.

Danny and the former Carolyn Fuson are both graduates of Plainview High School and attended Wayland Baptist University. He finished in 1972; she completed three semesters before going to work fulltime to help the young couple “stay afloat.”

In Plainview, they were deeply involved with their church, WBU, schools and the community in general. She served in several capacities at First Baptist Church for 25 years, then 15 years as presidential assistant at WBU. Danny worked in the WBU development office for a decade prior to their move to Burleson.

At the Plainview Daily Herald, Danny was editor for 25 of his 39 years. Writing some 3,000 columns–plus thorny issues editors must deal with daily–have not soured him on the world. He has an unwavering “outward and upward” countenance, endearing himself to many along the way.

When the couple isn’t “lathered up” in grandchildren things, they volunteer at FBC, where he teaches a Sunday School class and she helps in the office. He’s also a parttime funeral home employee.

Further proof of friendships forged in the community they left behind is his willingness for returning to officiate at funerals. Each one calls for a 750-mile roundtrip.

Throw in years of officiating basketball and baseball games, doing radio broadcasts for three sports and publishing a pre-season basketball game for 38 years provided much fodder for writing.

A fellow official–more familiar with game rules than elementary grammar–inspired Danny’s 2014 book entitled Things I Have Saw and Did. It includes 250 stories covering 442 pages.

One of the best came from a Hale Center care facility, where a resident soon would observe her 100th birthday.

Centenarians always merited a story, and Danny this time was the interviewer. Danny asked,  “Did you grow up around here?” Terse answer: “I don’t have to tell you anything.” Then, “Did you work in the public?” Retort: “That’s none of your business.” Finally: “Did you belong to a church?” Last straw: “I danged sure did.” (Her response was a shade darker than “dang.”)

Time to go, the administrator thought, fearing that she “might be about to strike him.”

The birthday account was brief.

One reader, chastising him for “defending George W. Bush,” called Danny “a rich, white elitist.” (Usually choosing not to respond to letters, Danny couldn’t resist, admitting to “being white.”)

Another resident didn’t want his marriage license announcement in the paper. Danny explained that they print ALL public records. “You could withhold it if you wanted to,” the man fumed.

“Well, I guess I don’t want to,” the editor answered, “You can try the Tulia Herald (25 miles away), but I doubt if they’ll withhold it either.”

Danny and Carolyn have been through life’s “thick and thin” since meeting as HS juniors in “geometry for dummies,” he claims.

They’ve quickly become valued friends to Brenda and me.

For whatever it’s worth, I would have needed the same remediation if our little school had offered the “dummies” class.


Dr. Newbury is a long-time public speaker and university president who writes weekly. Email: newbury@speakerdoc.com. Phone: 817-447-3872. Facebook: Don Newbury. Twitter: @donnewbury.