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Archive By Author - Nat Harwell


2010: a space odyssey

I was 10 years old when a young Catholic man, a World War II Navy hero, appeared on television challenging America to send a man to the moon and return him safely to the earth before the decade expired. It was 1961, and the moment President John Fitzgerald Kennedy spoke those words I fell helplessly, hopelessly in love with the idea of flying.

I dove into our town library's summer reading program and checked out every book I could find about flying. "God is my Co-Pilot," by Robert L. Scott, was one of the first. I remember absorbing, soaking ...

May 16, 2010 | Nat Harwell | Columnists


Mothers and other mothers

Is there any better time to recognize how special mothers are than on Mother's Day? No matter our circumstances in life, and despite possibly being at odds with our moms occasionally, Mother's Day provides us all with a moment to put things in perspective, doesn't it?

I remember when I was a kid, my Daddy making sure my younger brother and I had our cards ready for the big day. Those many years ago we'd actually make our own cards utilizing construction paper, cutting out a big heart with scissors and then coloring it in just ...

May 09, 2010 | Nat Harwell | Columnists


Bad math

I was never great at math, regrettably. Physics fascinated me, and there's no doubt in my mind that at some point - perhaps when the elusive Higgs Boson, or "God particle," is discovered - math will lead us to a more complete understanding of the creation of the universe, and how everything works together. But when I was in high school it became apparent that if math unlocks universal secrets heretofore withheld from mankind's understanding, someone else would have to serve as locksmith.

May 02, 2010 | Nat Harwell | Columnists


Tell me about school

The old man had not had a good day. He set out after breakfast to accomplish the fairly simple task of mowing his modest yard for the first time in 2010. But after cleaning away winter storage grime, installing a new spark plug and pouring in fresh gas and oil, he became frustrated when on the first pull the lawn mower's starter cord broke. Standing there, holding the rubber T-handle, he watched the bulk of the cord ratchet away into the mower's motor housing.

Two trips to the hardware store failed to bear fruit before the stubborn old ...

April 25, 2010 | Nat Harwell | Columnists


When Doolittle did much

225 feet. 75 yards. The distance between the goal line on one end of a football field and the 25 yard line at the other end. 225 feet. Four ship lengths of a World War II B-25 Mitchell bomber end-to-end.

April 18, 2010 | Nat Harwell | Our Thoughts


Thank you, Marshall

Once upon what seems a long time ago, America's service industry took a personal, sincere interest in making certain that customers were thoroughly satisfied. All across our land successful businesses were operated by professionals who cared enough to make sure the customer was genuinely pleased with the service provided.

April 11, 2010 | Nat Harwell | Columnists


Short and sweet

After the longest and coldest winter season in recent memory, what appears to be a short and sweet spring is here. My neighbor's Bradford pear trees blossomed last Saturday afternoon right before my eyes as I watched the NCAA "Sweet 16" basketball tournament. Realizing that it appeared to be snowing outside, in disbelief I went over to the window; there I found the blanket of white filling my field of vision to be those Bradford blossoms billowing in a fairly strong breeze, looking for all the world like the snows we experienced earlier in the year.

April 04, 2010 | Nat Harwell | Columnists


The junior-senior prom

Last weekend one of those things, which occasionally remind me that I'm a product of a bygone era, came along. The event was the Junior-Senior Prom for Eastside High School, where my wife has taught science since it opened just before the close of the 20th century and from which our two youngest children graduated. My wife teaches mostly seniors, and I'm currently serving as a substitute teacher in classes containing mostly juniors and seniors. So we both looked forward to seeing the kids in their finery and maybe to sneaking in a dance if, by some miracle ...

March 28, 2010 | Nat Harwell | Columnists


What a day

Sometimes the pace of life seems a bit too frenetic. When things I cannot control greatly outnumber things over which I think I have influence, I find it soothing to pause and examine what other folks were dealing with on this particular date throughout recorded history.

Misery just loves company, doesn't it?

March 21, 2010 | Nat Harwell | OPINION


Look, daddy, an airplane

Last week news broke of an air traffic controller working New York City's busy John F. Kennedy International Airport bringing his young son to work with him, and actually allowing the child to convey instructions to aircraft. Some of the airline pilots were amused, and the aberration from the normal airport operation almost passed without incident.

Having spent parts of the 20th and 21st centuries in the company tower for the busiest airline at the world's busiest airport, I was flabbergasted by the news report. It just couldn't be true, I thought.

March 14, 2010 | Nat Harwell | OPINION


Wish I didn’t know now

Lyrics were always the hardest thing for me to master as a kid. The Beatles invaded American rock-n-roll in December 1963, and appeared on "The Ed Sullivan Show" in February '64. Invited to join a fledgling band, I discovered how challenging memorizing lyrics to a myriad of tunes really is.

March 07, 2010 | Nat Harwell | Our Thoughts


Comfort food

Has anyone seen or heard from Al Gore this year? It would be serendipitous, indeed, for the former vice-president to appear and convince Old Man Winter to pack his bags. Gore can pontificate about global warming to his heart's content, but here in the Deep South folks are tired of being this cold for this long. Easter is but five Sundays away. For crying out loud, in just 39 days Jack and Arnie tee off in Augusta as honorary starters for The Masters!

For Yankee transplants, that means it's time for azaleas and dogwoods to bloom and blossom ...

February 28, 2010 | Nat Harwell | OPINION


Fading photographs

Baseball's spring training opened this past week. Pitchers and catchers reported to camps in Florida and Arizona, and Grapefruit and Cactus League games will begin soon.

No matter how cold the winter, spring training signals that warmer weather and better times are just around the bend.

February 21, 2010 | Nat Harwell | OPINION


This old house

Our house was built in 1973 and was one of the first to occupy our quiet little lane. For years it stood virtually alone on the east side of the street, but today it's part of 25 homes which comprise our snug little enclave.

February 14, 2010 | Nat Harwell | OPINION


Thicker skin required

White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel caught heat last week when he referred to a group of liberal Democrats as "retarded." President Obama's senior political aide must've felt as if he'd stepped in a yellow jacket hole after sticking both feet in his mouth. Vocal, visceral criticism from varied quarters, including the president's senior political advisor, David Axelrod - whose 27-year-old daughter has a developmental disability - forced Emanuel to immediately try and staunch the bleeding.

February 07, 2010 | Nat Harwell | OPINION


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