Who am I?
I have been honored by this newspaper, as an amateur journalist and pseudo-sociologist, to share my opinions, observations and insights on a variety of topics. Mostly, my periodic mutterings peculiarly focus on the intriguing responses of my fellow earthlings to matters of which I have some firsthand knowledge. The familiar subjects upon which I frequently focus include our coastal resources, outdoor adventures (especially, those related to sea kayaking), as well as respect for both our military veterans and the environment. And, I suspect that my writing has sometimes bored readers to tears, garnered deeply emotional reactions, or simply confused folks to the point they obsessively scratched their weary heads - probably with a stiff wire brush.
So, I felt it could be beneficial to those within our news-literate society to reveal why I see the world around us in such a tightly-focused manner. Yet, as I set about this task, I made the disturbing discovery that this auto-biographical effort closely resembles the emotional whipping to be painfully endured if one is forced to write their own epitaph or obituary.
I speculated that the best way to approach this challenge was to summarize my background and how it led me to publically post conclusions and/or possibly piercing, occasionally redundant, questions in my guest articles. So below, I have listed influencing features of my life. In hope of making it just a wee bit clearer, I added a defining tidbit to each, as dredged from published themes of the past.
AGE - Anyone who has lived as long as I have(72 years) has encountered a world which is filled with endless wonders and woes. Take for instance, my witness to the incredible advantages of wireless communications…only to see men; women and children mindlessly reject face-to-face interactions with other (probably, equally desperate) lonely souls just to become helpless slaves to their spiraling, socially-unfulfilling electronic addictions. Therefore, to escape from bombardments of aggravating calls, texts, emails and pop-ups, I spend every possible moment of free-time kayaking and being bountifully refreshed by the mesmerizing ebb and flow of the attention-grabbers Mother Nature showcases.
EDUCATION & RELATED EXPERIENCE - Water has always been a healing presence in my life. Thus, I’m eternally blessed to have been attracted to scholastic pursuits that resulted in two marine sciences-related degrees from Texas A&M. Mercifully, my Parent/GI Bill-supported education afforded me the opportunity to vocationally immerse myself in our ocean/coastal-related resources and the people who depend upon them for their livelihood and/or uplifting recreational endeavors. So, for three-plus decades, I invested my time and talents as a Sea Grant Extension faculty member with this same state university.
Without question, the most rewarding facet of my career was generating an appreciation for the indispensable role the oceanic elements of our planet play in maintaining humankind’s health and well-being. Of extra-special value to me, was the plethora of hands-on learning activities provided to our youth, as so generously supported by Matagorda County’s 4-H volunteers.
On a mellower note, my failure to sufficiently enlighten my friends and neighbors regarding the essential contributions of abundant and time-sensitive freshwater inflows into our bays and estuaries still haunts me. I fear these knowledge-deficient citizens were left ill-equipped to combat the ever-looming loss of nourishing stream flows to these critically-important nursery grounds.
MILITARY SERVICE – I, at the nudging of my beleaguered professors, ‘hesitantly’ enlisted in the armed forces at the height of the Vietnam War. During my time in Southeast Asia, three vital principles percolated through my young, politically-naive brain: #1 – Freedom is not free; #2 –We, as ‘free-to-do-as-we-please’ Americans, can never repay those who gave ALL when our country, or the suffering world, needed them, and; #3 – Politicians start armed conflicts; not the GIs that are called to fight and die in them (so, ‘please’, vote with extreme care my friends)!
This wide-angle snapshot is offered in hope that you, and others in our area, might potentially consider my personal take on what is happening around us, as having a smidgen of experience-derived validity. However, if you disagree with anything I might suggest in print, simply say so? I, as a struggling communicator, have a lot of respect for open, honest dialogue and… I possess an uncommonly thick hide!