Clay County Crime Report
This week's crime report for Clay County Florida, provided by the Clay County Sheriff's Office. Read more

‘You’ll thank me later’

Choose to be happy by going to a parade


I need a parade.

I need to watch children wave flags, eat snow cones and laugh. I need to see parents pushing strollers and using their shoulders to help little ones get a better view.

I want to use sunscreen, hear music and smell hot dogs on the grill. I want to see fireworks.

I want a distraction from the world’s noise. I can’t watch the 24-hour news cycle anymore, and you can only watch reruns of “Yellowstone” and “Monk” for so long.

I need a parade.

It will be nice to be at Keystone Height’s Our Country Day parade and fireworks on Saturday, and then head over to Moosehaven for another festive day on Monday to celebrate the Independence Day holiday with its American Pride 4th of July celebration.

In between, I can’t wait for the wind to blow my hair – even if it’s mainly from my neck and ears – while I’m cruising in a boat along the St. Johns River or Black Creek.

And I’m looking forward to wetting a fishing line. I don’t need to catch anything. I’m going to embrace the tranquility.

It will be nice to be around thousands of revelers and patriotic neighbors who won’t be chanting for change or protesting the argument of the day. For every protester – regardless of position or cause – there are thousands of others who just want to pay our bills, educate our children and feel safe.

There’s no use in arguing against or defending the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade. Everyone is too embedded in their beliefs. There is no common ground because we’ve allowed a handful of loud zealots from both sides to push us in the corner. We’ve allowed our common ground and common sense to be stolen by 15-second soundbites and catchy one-liners.

So I watch “Yellowstone” and “Monk.” And I look forward to seeing a parade.

We can choose to be happy. My recent health scare taught me that. What you learn is it’s easier to find the good in people than it is to peel back the layers to find something bad.

I openly admit I’m luckier than most. I started in the newspaper business at the perfect time. I was assigned to cover NASCAR in 1979 with the promise if I did a good job I would be promoted to covering high school sports. Little did anyone know how NASCAR’s popularity would skyrocket at the same time.

I was assigned the Orlando Magic before they turned the first shovel of dirt or sold their first ticket. Nobody thought Orlando would get a franchise. As it turned out, I was at the right place at the right time.

But nothing compares to my good fortune of being in this county and writing stories for Clay Today. The experience made me realize how much I love talking to people and writing stories.

I originally planned to work until I was 63 and retire – again. I changed my mind and decided to work until I’m 64. Working has become a welcomed break from the barrage of Medicare Part B offers I’m getting every day.

My plan now is to write as long as my fingers and mind are still functioning – and as long as you keep reading.

Go see a parade. Take your children to a park or playground. Play a round of golf or join a pickleball league. Walk your dog. Go to a parade.

Just turn the turn cable news off and get outside. As Monk would say, “You’ll thank me later.”


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