Try this. Put your head down for five seconds. Now look up. According to a study cited in an article in last week’s Fort Worth Star-Telegram, had you been driving 55 miles an hour in a line of traffic, in that five seconds you probably would have slammed into the car in front of you. The article stated that drivers who “take their eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds equates to traveling the length of a football field at 55 miles per hour without looking.”
Now if we’re truthful, when traveling down the road, seldom do any of us keep a football field length between our car and the car in front of us. For that matter, not too many people drive 55 miles an hour, unless in a speed limit area lower than that.
So, the bottom line is that during that five seconds you looked down had you been driving 55 miles per hour you would have covered the length of a football field. If the car in front of you had been closer than a football field length you would have plowed into it.
A new law will take effect Sept. 1 about those cell phones and driving. No texting while driving. None. Nada. According to James Bass, executive director of the Texas Department of Transportation, “Last year, 455 people were killed and more than 3,000 were seriously injured in crashes due to driver distractions.”
You can, however, still talk on your cell phone while driving, but, and but should be underlined, only if you are using a “hands-free device.” Time to learn some new technology.
That’s in Texas alone folks. Fourteen states already have this law. Sept 1 is about three weeks away.
•Condolences to the family of one-time Madisonville mayor Kirby H. Woehst, who passed away Friday, Aug. 4, 2017, in Tomball. Kirby was 96. He and his wife Harriett moved to Tomball quite a few years ago to be closer to their children.
Kirby was highly active in our town when he lived here, both in church and in government. He also remained an active telegrapher with Morse code while in Madisonville.
Kirby was the last surviving member of the crew of a B-54 named Tailwind on which he was a top turret gunner during World War II. He flew 50 missions and received numerous accommodations.
Harriett preceded Kirby in death. Services were held Wednesday, Aug. 9, at First United Methodist Church. He is survived by three generations, his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren
The family request memorials be made to the Son Shine Outreach Center. That address is 320 N. May St., Madisonville, TX 77864.
•Just a reminder that a memorial scholarship has been created in memory of Thelma Risinger with Madisonville CISD. Donations to the scholarship may be mailed to Annette Andrews, Madisonville CISD, P.O. Box 879 Madisonville, TX 77864. Make your checks payable to Madisonville CISD and on the subject line, write Thelma Risinger Scholarship.
•Here’ what’s happening ’round town. This Friday night from 6-8 p.m. is the August Shop & Stroll in our fair city. It’s a great evening to have a relaxed time in town shopping with stores that remain open late and with vendors and crafters who set up booths in the Kimbro Center.
There will also be live music on the square and even an auto display at the front of the courthouse. And, with the benches now scattered around town, you might sit a spell and just do some people watching, maybe see some friends you haven’t seen in a while.
While you have that calendar out, why not mark Thursday to attend the upcoming Community Prayer Vigil. It will start at 6 p.m. at the Truman Kimbro Center. Our world and our little corner of it certainly needs this. A reception will immediately follow the prayer vigil with some good old fashion hot dogs and all the trimmings, along with some good visiting. See you there.
•On the birthday list, happy birthday to Liz Ward, whose birthday is this Friday, Aug. 11. Drop by the Madison County Chamber office and wish her a happy birthday. Evonne Poe, Chance Savage and Craig Stover celebrate their birthdays Friday as well.
Jaina Wakefield and Christen Parrack blow out their candles Monday, Aug. 14, while Candy Bennett does the same Tuesday, Aug. 15.
Do you have birthdays or anniversaries in the family? Send your info to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 936-348-6541. Make sure you spell those names so we get them right.
•And finally, while looking for some information I ran across a column I wrote three years ago in August. Surprisingly, five people I mentioned who were ill —Johnny Crocker, Mary Reed, Linda Douglas, Shaun Rogers, and Rita Heaton — have passed away, Jimmy Wells was also mentioned in that column. That makes six.
That’s a stark reminder that today is what we really have. Today we have the opportunity to make this day the best that it can be. There is no promise of tomorrow, no promise of next week’s celebrations, no promise of plans we look forward to in the coming year. What we do have is today.
But if our focus is right, today is enough. Just tell someone you love them, not the mushy love, but the honest, sincere from-the-bottom-of-your-heart love. And not just your family, but your friends, those whom you really care about.
I remember when the late Charlie Ward, a wise California trainer, began encouraging this tradition years ago. At first, some men felt a little awkward hearing him say just before hanging up the phone or walking away, “Love ya my friend”. It didn’t take long, though, for that love to spread and soon around any coliseum or arena it wasn’t unusual to hear “love ya my friend.”
When Charlie Ward passed away one of the best memories he left was the legacy of spreading love. Love is a good thing but it’s in the sharing of that love that makes it better.
Today’s what we have. It’s a good day to start spreading our legacies right here in Madison County. None of us know what tomorrow brings, much less three years.