Remembering Reagan, Ray Charles - Kathy Jefcoats

I am not sure what to write about this week. President Reagan died after I wrote my column last week and I think the time to fully pay tribute to him has passed by now. Ray Charles died Thursday. I was almost as saddened by that news as Reagan's death. To say I love his version of "Georgia" doesn't do justice to the emotions that sweep over me when I hear that deep, rich voice extolling the natural virtues of this beautiful state. When I lived in South Carolina for a year and returned to Georgia for visits, just seeing the welcome sign, "We're glad Georgia's on your mind," filled me with warmth and a feeling of coming home. Now that I am back, I don't think I would live anywhere else unless it is New York.

Ray Charles was more than "Georgia," of course. His career spanned decades and included many great songs. Another of my lifetime favorites, Billy Joel, named his only child in his honor, Alexa Ray. His impact on the music industry will be felt for years.

Ronald Reagan was the first president I voted for and I helped elect him twice. I took my four little kids to see him when he came through Macon, standing in the hot sun for hours, waiting. My oldest daughter still remembers that and she must have been about 6, I think. I think he was a great leader and set an example for others to follow but I also admired him for his relationship with his wife of 52 years. If there wasn't true love and devotion between them, Mrs. Reagan surely would not have seen his Alzheimer's through its course.

As I watched coverage of his death and subsequent ceremonies, which included Mrs. Reagan's public display of affection at his flag-draped coffin, I thought ahead to Clinton's death. How will he be remembered? Will there be the same respect and admiration shown for him as the outpouring of love displayed for President Reagan? I doubt it. I don't think we'll see the same homage paid to Clinton by his wife either. Mrs. Reagan was able to bury her husband knowing he never publicly scandalized the White House through sexual relationships with cheap floozies.

If Clinton had respect for his wife n not to mention the office he held for eight long, agonizing years (for me, anyway) n he would have made better decisions.

In other matters, I spent a few days with my three youngest grandchildren last week. Jared is 4, Alliyah is 3 and Makayla is 2, all children of my daughter, Michelle, and her husband, Heath. I love them but these three are too small to really have any fun with. You can't take them to a Braves game, a movie or even Six Flags. They rarely sit still long enough to listen to a book and even seem to have too much energy to quietly play with their toys.

I did make a few observations during that time, however. For example, I had forgotten that young children have bladders the size of a pea and are incapable of passing a bathroom without having to go. The longest period of time are the seemingly unending minutes that creep along from the time you put a child's video in the VCR to the time the movie actually starts. I think the average time is about 12 minutes n tape that consists of commercials and previews of other movies.

The best way to ensure a 2-year-old will run through the house is to tell her not to. A child will not want a toy unless her brother or sister has it. A child will eat anything if he or she sees his mother eat it first n good for the child if it is a vegetable but bad for the mother if she is trying to enjoy a gourmet pasta dish.

The wail of a spoiled child not getting his or her way is louder than any siren and twice as annoying. On the other hand, the kiss of a child preceded by "I love you, Grandma," is sweeter than chocolate.

Staff writer Kathy Jefcoats covers public safety issues. She can be reached at (770) 957-9161 or by e-mail at kjefcoats@henryherald.com.