Here are a few things of utmost importance. Bear with me.

+PROBABLY BECAUSE my good church buddy Carol Bartz wants me to expand my shallow horizon – football, baseball, “The Wheel of Fortune” – from time to time she brings me a number of papers she subscribes to called the Vineyard Gazette, which, if I’m not mistaken, is located in Massachusetts, one of my favorite states, although I’ve never been there and don’t plan to visit anytime soon, like never. (Pardon the long sentence.)

The paper covers major townships on the Island of Martha’s Vineyard such as Edgartown, Oak Bluffs, Tisbury, West Tisbury, Chilmark, and Aquinnah. (I have no idea if they play good schoolboy football up there.)

I do enjoy learning how the other half lives, as reported in the Gazette, although this newspaper is so wide it almost takes both me and Wife Margie to hold and read it.

The story that caught my eye among several Gazettes Carol brought me was about the sale of the Kennedy family property, which is, to quote reporter Julia Wells, “The historic, ecologically rare oceanfront estate in Aquinnah owned by the family of Caroline B. Kennedy ...”

Probably because it’s “ecologically rare,” Caroline is asking $65 million for it.

According to Julia, and again I quote, “Known as Red Gate Farm, the property served as a private retreat for Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis until her death in 1994. It encompasses some 340 acres of stunningly beautiful windswept coastal dunes, wetlands, hillocks and salt-blasted heathlands between Moshup Trail and Squibnocket Pond.”

(NON-EDITOR’S NOTE: I have no idea what “hillocks” and “heathlands” are, although there may be some in Beach City.)

I bring this up as a public service. Surely there are millionaires in Baytown and the surrounding area who might be willing to pay Caroline $65 million.

If I can get the folks at Amegy Bank to give me a loan, I might be interested. I know for a fact that fellow Gathering Of Old Toots (GOOTs) brethren Leo Hechler is submitting a bid. Word is he’ll offer $62.5 million.

How about you?

+I GOT SOME wonderful feedback on a recent column I did on how hard it can be to renew your driver’s license. I’m sure you remember that piece.

One of the most interesting emails I got – don’t misunderstand, they were all GREAT – came from longtime Sweeny pal Juanita Griffin. Here, I’ll let it speak for itself:

“When I went recently [to get her licenses renewed] I walked up to the counter. They gave me a form to fill out. I sat down with thousands of people & before I could finish filling it out they called my number. WOW, I said to the lady, that was quick ... she said, we do it for all the ‘older’

people so they won’t have to wait!! in & out in about 15 min!! The only time being ‘older’ was Ok with me.”

I meant no ill-intent to Juanita, who’s been a friend for centuries, but I replied to her: “That’s amazing. I guess I don’t look old.”

I haven’t heard back from her.

+WHILE READING a Bible verse the other day (Psalm 33:2) I ran across a word I didn’t know or understand. Here’s what it says, “Praise the Lord with harp: sing unto Him with the psaltery and an instrument of ten strings.”

I started to call Music Man Jack Hall at Second Baytown Church to learn what a “psaltery” is, but instead, I looked it up.

I wish I hadn’t.

For your edification, a psaltery is “an ancient and medieval musical instrument like a dulcimer but played by plucking the strings with the fingers or a plectrum.”

“A “dulcimer?” A “plectrum?”


I did some extra searches in my dictionary, but that only led to more words I didn’t understand, such as “zither” and “tortoiseshell.”

Forget it.

I wonder if the Ross S. Sterling band has a couple of psalteries it will take to its Sugar Bowl appearance in January? Go, Rangers!


Jim Finley is a retired managing editor of The Sun. He can be reached at, Attention: Jim Finley.


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