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Tom Garrett

Stories by Tom

Life inside a computer

If ever in my life I felt like I had stumbled into a time warp and come out on Alpha Centauri it was the day I found myself bumbling down a long, dim corridor walled on both sides by 8-foot-high banks of radio tubes.

How computers captured me

If you’ve been reading this column over the years you may have noticed a couple of things about me. One, I am 81 years old. Two, I’m fairly computer literate for an old fogey.

Sometimes all you can do is say thank you

It is 4:25 p.m. on the afternoon of 6 May 2013.

Never say that one person can’t make a difference - Part 2

I left off last week where Private First Class Dan Daly, United States Marine Corps, was awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic part in fighting off thousands of Chinese soldiers who battled to enter the international enclave in Peking in 1900 and slaughter its residents, including thousands of Chinese Christians who had taken refuge there.

It is amazing how our attitude toward driving has changed, Part 2

If you missed last week’s column, it was about my very first drive in a car. At age 5, all by myself, in the rumble seat of Uncle Joe’s roadster, I was whisked away on a 32-mile trip from one end of Staten Island to the other — a trip that ended with two delicious hot dogs and two whole bottles of root beer.

It is amazing how our attitude toward driving has changed over the years

A few weeks back I mentioned a drive to Payson and back that I genuinely enjoyed. I got thinking about that afterward and could not help but be amazed at how much our attitude toward driving has changed since I was a boy.

Some people never learn

Earlier today I chanced on a reference to evil. A few phrases caught my eye: “Deliberate wrongdoing, hurting other people for no reason, committing senseless acts of violence ...”

What do we mean when we wish things were normal?

I’m sitting here “thinking on paper” — letting words flow from my head, through the keyboard, to the screen. I have a question. One I’ll bet you ask yourself once in a while.

A good day on the road made me think

I had an odd drive from Pine to Payson the day I wrote this. Odd because it was so easy compared to some drives. There I was, all alone as I left Pine.

Some of the cleverest comebacks ever

Writing about Winston Churchill last week reminded me of some things I’ve heard or read over the years.

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A man who always had the perfect reply

People, especially politicians, are always saying nasty things about each other.

A day that started an adventure in reading

One English summer afternoon in 1970, Lolly and I were on Broad Street in Oxford when we spotted a name we both knew well — Blackwell’s Book Store.

Businessman was one of the people who changed my life

My last Air Force unit was a 21-man field training detachment at RAF Upper-Heyford, England. Like all Air Force outfits, we met once a month for commander’s call.

Teacher was one of the people who changed my life

I have a confession, Johnny. I am not just me; I am a lot of people rolled up into one.

Children put down deep roots Part 2

Ah yes, children put down deep roots! For a time back when I was 11, I was ready to dig in, find my roots, climb in with them, and pull the sod over me.

Children put down very deep roots

There are times we try so hard to do the right thing for our kids that we end up getting it exactly wrong.

Everyone needs someone there

As you may or may not know, I do an online forum for the Roundup.

This is not the world I grew up in, Part 4

Last week we turned on a computer, opened a browsing program, went to the Google site, and clicked on Maps.

This is not the world I grew up in, Part 3

Last week we turned on a computer, opened a browsing program, went to Google, clicked on Maps, and told the machine to show us the Ponderosa Market. Let’s go on from there, OK? 

This is not the world I grew up in, Part II

Last week we talked about how much easier it has become to keep in touch with each other.

It’s not the world I grew up in

How many times have you heard someone say that the world has changed since he was born? How many times has a sad shake of a head gone with those words? Quite a few, I’ll bet.

Discovering generosity is contagious

For the past two weeks we’ve been talking about the first few days Lolly and I spent up here in Pine. As you know, if you have been reading the column, they were very special days.

First impressions are often the right ones, Part 2

Last week I left off on the second day after Lolly and I moved into our little place in Pine.

First impressions are often the right impressions

I suppose that all of us have been warned against letting first impressions influence us too much, but I’m inclined to agree with 19th century War British writer William Hazlitt who said that first impressions are often the truest. It certainly was a first impression that got my attention back in 1958, when I stopped in a Mesa restaurant on my way to Japan. The people there made me feel as welcome as I have ever felt anywhere. Later that day, when I stopped at a small place up in Kingman, it happened again. Two for two. I couldn’t help thinking that Arizona would be a good place to settle down. I was right.

We just can’t get enough of seven

I read a lot and it never fails to amaze me how often I come across the number seven. It seems to be everywhere.

Mind over matter; it was inevitable

I don’t remember whether or not I ever mentioned that I’ve had a couple of novels published.

An outstanding example of the ‘right person’

There are two theories of history. One is that leaders arise, creating the history of their time out of who they are.

The right person in the right place can make a vast difference

Last week we spoke of the Miracle of 1801, a moment in time when opposing points of view could have torn our newly founded nation apart.

In 1801 our new nation faced its greatest test

I make no bones about it — I love this land of ours. I am proud to be a part of it and what it stands for.

Depression kids kept eyes peeled for food

One day, one of the wisest men I have ever personally known was running a meeting when someone asked a question.

Happiness is all in how you view life

As I write this it is 1:32 in the afternoon on Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012, and it is a VERY good day.

Life in Depression America wasn’t as bad as it sounds, Part II

Last week we left off at the end of the 1931 monster movie “Frankenstein.”

Life in Depression America wasn’t as bad as it sounds

It is Saturday afternoon on a sunny March day, the perfect day to climb Ward Hill.

Here’s a tough question; maybe the toughest

My mother, God bless her, was one in a million.

Want to see the world? Go to London.

Not long ago the saying was, “The sun never sets on the British Empire.”

We each owe others a great deal

I have read, and believe, that we all start out with a set of traits we can’t change very much.

We are swept up in fads without ever realizing it

If anyone asked me how I feel about fads, I would no doubt say something dumb, like “Are you kidding? I hate fads.

A large part of happiness is knowing who you really are

There’s nothing better in life than finding a job that fits you, is there? Each day you go to work in a place you like, where people like you, and where you fit.

Some people you can never repay no matter how you try - Part II

Last week I told you about Chuck Dunlap, someone I will never be able to thank enough even if I live to be a thousand.

Some people you can never repay no matter how you try

Eighty years is a long time to live. It gives you a chance to have a lot of fun.

Do you really believe kids are so different today?

I know you’ve run the across the same news articles I have, the ones that sound so very, very sad, that just drip with sorrow.

You’ll never know if you can do it until you try

More than once, life has taught me a valuable lesson:

A time when I was half man, half boy and mostly confused

I’ll tell you what, Johnny. Never take a young man of 14 who loves reading, but whose knowledge of the world is limited to the way it transpires within the pages of a book, and put him in an isolated, live-in workplace filled with college girls.

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Ever ask what made you, you? Part II

Last week we talked about how much pure chance affects what we learn as we pass through life. I find it a fascinating subject, perhaps because I discovered early in life that I am a person who is able to change.

Ever ask what made you, you?

Good question, isn’t it? What made you, you? It is no doubt true that we inherit traits through our genes which are a large part of who we are, but I can’t help feeling that a lot of what makes us uniquely us comes through experiences strewn by chance across life’s path.

Telephone scammers preying on residents

Don’t let ‘jury notice’ scam frighten you: Just hang up

More than 20 percent of the population in Payson is of retirement age, compared to a national average of 13 percent.

Some know very early what they want out of life

I’m 80 years old and it finally occurred to me to ask myself what I want out of life. At this moment, of course, it’s an easy question. As you may know, my beloved wife, Lolly, is very ill.

Ever wonder why it’s so easy to make some choices? Part II

Last week we talked about a red cardinal chick it was my privilege to rescue from a miserable fate. I found it among a pile of wet leaves and branches left behind after I cleared away a head-high pile of branches that filled my back yard in Port Arthur, Texas, after a very nasty storm.

Ever wonder why it’s so easy to make some choices

I admit it. I bounced through life like the ball in a pinball machine. You know what I mean? No specific goals. No eye on the future. No great plans. Just bouncing left and right, rolling downhill, bumping against this and that, taking each moment as it comes, and letting each choice make itself. Some people would say I chose the easy road, and I’d agree with them except for one thing.

When are we most honest? When dead scared

Bill Cosby is just about my favorite all-time comic. On one of his tapes, when talking about himself and the kids he knew, he said that he became convinced early in life that the one time people were completely honest was when they were dead scared.  I agree, but the problem with being dead scared is that a moment that may seem dead serious to you can be funny as hell to others. And there’s no way to live it down afterward. Sooner or later, some genius is sure to say, “Man! You should have seen Tom the day that ...”