All this environmental talk in the news and on the streets these days is causing premature thoughts of Christmas.

Every day, dozens of people are coming up with new ideas about how we can “go green.” I’m embarrassed that I haven’t contributed a single idea. The mere thought causes me a blush of deep red.

There’s a certain irony that while the environment is substantially improved by our “greenery” efforts, the American greenback is fading fast among the world’s legal tender…

The Irish are a bit saddened by our new attention to “green.”

One Irishman mentioned that for years, “green beer” served on St. Patrick’s Day was something of a novelty. Now, it’s pretty much in the “so what” category.

Coming to mind is the absent-minded man who was much at home in the bar. One day, he downed a schooner of water by mistake. “That’s not a bad drink,” he said…

At the annual convention of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists in Philadelphia, local officials did what they could to neutralize negative impressions they felt some first-time visitors would bring along.

They didn’t expect many writers to be “green with envy,” so they figured a clever billboard might encourage those arriving with negatives in mind.

The billboard read: “Welcome to Philadelphia. Our city is not as bad as citizens say it is.”

Since this has become a color-coded column, add Gene and Lil Gantz to the list of red faces.

In 2006, they received a Christmas gift in the mail from a granddaughter in Ohio. Their hearts sank when they opened it. They had no use for an automatic tea maker, so they didn’t even open the carton. The couple stored it, figuring they could use it as a white elephant gift at their next Sunday School Christmas party.

In 2007, they did just that. The gifted couple was happy indeed. Inside the carton was a beautiful vase. The Gantz couple “crimsoned-up.” Admitting to be “Indian givers,” they traded for the vase, took it home, displayed it prominently and again thanked their granddaughter. And this time, they meant it…

When the nation is caught up in basketball play-offs we call “March Madness,” part of the glee is because the green grass of springtime is at hand.

And so are graduation ceremonies.

They are hot-beds for embarrassing moments. Often superintendents are the brunt of foolishness they’d sooner skip…

On one occasion, a longtime school administrator/coach, the late Lawson Cash, exercised a rarely-used prerogative.

It was back in the 1940s, when Rising Star, Texas, High School’s football team was running rough-shod over all opponents, beating them by 50-60-70 points. Mr. Cash, superintendent and coach at tiny Pioneer High School, faced the prospect of playing the mighty Rising Star team. Early in the week he chatted on the phone with the Rising Star superintendent who warned that while he’d enjoyed the visit, come Friday his team would beat Pioneer as much as possible.

Mr. Cash stewed on the warning for a couple of days before deciding to forfeit the contest. He figured a 1-0 forfeiture score in the record books would look better than a 75-0 whitewashing, and perhaps several youngsters on his team might avoid annihilation and/or red faces…

Don’t think preachers are getting a pass. They regularly run into red-face situations. The story goes that a stranger stopped by to ask the minister to pray for his hearing.

“Of course I will,” the parson answered. Following the “amen,” he asked if it was any better.

“Oh, it’s too early to tell,” the petitioner said. “The judge set the hearing for next Wednesday.”

End note: Young drivers today tilt their heads sideways upon hearing oldsters brag about gasoline at 12.9 cents per gallon. But in the 1950s, that’s the way it was, and a buck’s worth was good for a heap of driving.

Currently, I’d like to see if anyone can get the pump to shut off at one buck.

In many ways, the “good old days” were “good old days.” Precious memories linger…

Dr. Newbury is a speaker and author in the Metroplex. He welcomes inquiries and comments. Send email to or call 817-447-3872. Visit his Web site at