Saturday, July 15, 2017


---Merle Jordan, an English teacher of mine at Stephen F. Austin High School, for her very memorable presentation in class about the Great Fire of London of the 1660s that Samuel Pepys chronicled so courageously.

---the nations of the world where high-quality tea is grown commercially.

---promoters and exponents of the lifelong athletic activities of tennis, clay-court tennis, racquetball, roller skating, swimming, bicycling, and hiking.

--the individual who somehow reminded me that I had the option of raising bobwhite quail as pets of mine during my childhood. 

I thoroughly enjoyed the sights and sounds of those beautiful bobwhite quail chirping in their very tall and very wide cage in the backyard of my childhood home. I also thoroughly enjoyed watching my bobwhite quail playing in the sand, or "sand-bathing", inside that cage.

---the three total professional tennis champions who each mailed to me autographed photos of themselves, those famous persons being Ms. Chris Evert of the United States, Evonne Goolagong Cawley of Australia, and Rod Laver of Australia.

--Mother and Father for having been lifelong abstainers from tobacco products.

---Mother for having never at any time verbalized any profane word or obscenity or any off-color word in my presence or within earshot of me at any time in my entire life, with one total exception.
That sole exception was an "Oh, Hell, it's President Nixon again giving a speech on television!" indignant exclamation from Mother in the early 1970s, an exclamation that seemed very out of character for her, it seemed to me even at the time, since Mother had never previously verbalized the term "Oh, Hell" at any other time that I can recall.

---Mother for having supported full freedom of speech legal rights for me. "I (Phyllis Gardner McMillan) don't care what you (son John Kevin) write, as long as it's well-written," Mother stated to me in 1986 during a period in which I temporarily resided with my parents in their home in Westlake Hills, Texas.

---New York Times columnist Russell Baker for having agreed to meet with me on Nantucket Island in 1986 and for having given me a brief tour of that island off the coast of Massachusetts. "Got a family?" (exact quote), Russell Baker asked me at one point during that tour of Nantucket ---a tour inside his Lincoln Continental luxury sedan, I believe it was, in which he commented appreciatively about some "Greek Revival" architecture in Nantucket that he admired. I believe it was a public building Mr. Baker cited to me as highlighting that type of architecture.

---the very warm welcome that Rotary Club of El Campo (TX) member Mike Kolcek, a Texas A&M University student at the time, offered me in person at a 1988 meeting of that admirable civic group that I attended in Wharton County, Texas.

--The private college in New Ulm, Minnesota, Martin Luther College, a Missouri Synod Lutheran Church-affiliated institution of higher education, that in 1980 or 1981 permitted me to play tennis outdoors on that campus on numerous occasions with a seminary student there, Jon Aschenmacher (sp?) of Wisconsin.

---Dorothy Day, the receptionist for "The Daily Texan" student newspaper on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin, for handing me a very generous graduation present in the spring of 1979. Dorothy stated to me that she so appreciated my very fine "disposition" and friendly style at "The Daily Texan" that Dorothy wanted me to have a copy of "La Livre de La Cuisine de Lafayette", a cookbook issued by a civic group in Lafayette, Louisiana. 

---Chris Barbee, then-managing editor at the "El Campo Leader-News" semi-weekly newspaper in El Campo, Texas, for sponsoring in 1988 and 1989 a weekly outing one day of each week (possibly every Wednesday?) for all news and editorial staff members at the "Leader-News," including myself, at a Mikeska's barbecue restaurant situated a matter of yards from our newspaper office in downtown El Campo. That weekly tradition fostered a greater sense of camaraderie and dialogue among all staff members in the newsroom of that general-circulation newspaper. It was on those outings that one coworker of mine dining inside that restaurant, "Leader-News" reporter Dale Robertson, would sometimes comment to me about the Boston area of Massachusetts, without Dale offering me any particular advice that I can recall on whether Mr. Robertson believed that I should myself move back to the Boston area at some point in my future.

to be continued.

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