A holiday mix of wit and wisdom

Published 9:44 pm Wednesday, December 9, 2015

By Frank Roberts

This is one of those ‘little-bit-of-everything’ columns, resulting from a pile-up of papers. The odds are pretty decent that you will find something of interest.

Let’s begin lightly with something that applies to yours truly. “Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what the hell happened.” Amen and amen. Also this: “So when is this ‘old enough to know better’ supposed to kick in?

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Presidential stuff: According to a two-year Ancestry.com study of thousands of records from colonial Virginia, the president is the 11th great-grandson of John Punch, a black man who came to America in the 1600s as an indentured servant and was enslaved for life in 1640 after trying to escape his servitude.

It is believed that although Obama’s father was a black Kenyan native, his ties to slavery stem instead from his white mother, Stanley Ann Dunham. The enslaved Punch had mixed-race children with a free white woman.

The chilren were born free because of their mother’s freedom. They later went on to become “prominent” landowners in Virginia. Thanks, ABC news for the above info.

Another presidential item: After his resignation, Richard Nixon testified on Deep Throat’s behalf in an unrelated trial. That’s according to Owen J. Hurd in his book, “After the Fact.” Hypocrisy reigns.

Boy, this is clever: During the Cold War, the code to unlock nuclear missiles was, “00000000.”

This is an old Coast Guard saying: “You have to go out, but you don’t necessarily have to come back.” That seems to hold true these days.

The roughest Coast Guard station is probably in Sitka, Alaska. One pilot said, “I kid you not. We fly routine missions out of Sitka in weather they wouldn’t even open their hangar doors to in San Diego or Elizabeth City. They couldn’t even fathom flying in the kind of weather that we encounter during our everyday training exercises up here.”

OK, country music enthusiasts — who was the most popular star? Most likely, Patsy Cline. Look at the scorecard: Her “Greatest Hits” album has sold more than 10 million copies — the largest selling greatest hits package, no matter the genre.

She was the first female inducted into the Country Music Hall Of Fame. The Grammy Hall of Fame includes two of her recordings, and she was given a posthumous Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

She was honored with a U.S. postage stamp and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She placed first on the CMT countdown of the 40 Greatest Women in Country Music.

Her life has been the subject of several TV documentaries, four stage productions, eight books, an Oscar-nominated feature film and a number of tribute albums.

Unfortunately, I never met her, but I did spend a day with her mom.

Here’s one for your next party: “Let’s play horse. I’ll be the front and you be yourself.” Ouch!

My cousin, Zingo, had a nice apartment overlooking the park, until he made a mistake. He overlooked the rent. That reminds me of another “house” tale. It’s about the landlord who didn’t maintain his building. His tenant slipped on the ice — in front of the bathtub.

During a 60-year career spanning newspapers, radio and television, Frank Roberts has been there and done that. Today, he’s doing it in retirement from North Carolina, but he continues to keep an eye set on Suffolk and an ear cocked on country music. Email him at froberts73@embarqmail.com.