Archive For December 29, 2016

Strictly Observing LIVE! Episode 1.1

To kick off 2017, I have added a new element to my column in the Wytheville Enterprise that will hopefully draw more people to both the newspaper and this website.

My first episode of Strictly Observing LIVE! coincides with my column for January 4, 2017 and features special guest Robin Richardson of the Wythe County Department of Social Services, who is responsible for a very special gift to my family this holiday season. Give a listen to find out more!

Mt. Pleasant Carolers
Last night, carolers from Mt. Pleasant United Methodist Church came to my home and sang songs for us. They have always had a splendid group of singers, but those a cappella songs were extra touching and beautiful. Jeremiah Weaver, the great-grandson of my dearly departed friend, Rachel Courtney, presented me with three or four bags of homemade goodies including cookies, zucchini bread and gumdrops. When I joined that church a decade ago, he was just a baby. He called my wheelchair a tractor and pretended to direct the choir every Sunday morning. Mildred “Mert” Stafford is a top-notch musical director and I know Rachel is proud of her daughter, Fonda Albert, who is every bit the sweetie her mom was. Every time I look into her eyes, I see the beauty and kindness her mother had. It was also great to see my dear friends Michelle Cassell and Dr. Phyllis Ashworth. Bella especially enjoyed the singing and asked me why they left so quickly. I’ve been gone a long time, but it’s nice to know they still consider me family. They certainly will always be mine. Thank you, Mt. Pleasant! You made my night! I love you all!

2016 “Strictly Observing” Person of the Year


Every year, I highlight one person featured in a “Strictly Observing” column that has impacted my life and career the most while simultaneously having a similar effect on our community.  This year’s selection is Woody Wilder.


As a Wytheville native who studied sports journalism in Greensboro, Woody Wilder left home to become a successful producer in Los Angeles, CA for the NFL Network.  In my field of work, he epitomizes success.  As much of a hero as Woody is to me professionally, he is even more so as a fellow human being.  Rooted in a deep religious faith and an incredibly alluring personality, the kindness he expresses to me as a friend is invaluable to me.  He carries with him the fundamental values Wytheville has given him and blended them with his resilient perseverance, which has given him limitless opportunities for success, making us proud to call him one of our own.