Author: Dennis Ritchie

Until You Try . . .

What do professional Class V whitewater river guides do in their spare time? They rock climb and kayak and whatever this is . . . Josh Hoppstadter and Summer Wofford  had no idea they could do it. They just thought it would be fun to try and happened to be good at it. This was their 3rd attempt with a total of four hours worth of practice. I have a feeling it would take me a little longer. They did it for the same reason I first picked up my Dad’s guitar. Or tried the piano. Or moved to Nashville with no firm job. Or left for the mountains with only a fresh dream in front of me. They did it with no proper research and no university training. They did it knowing they could fail completely. And they didn’t care. Because they knew, instinctively, that the most dangerous thing a person can ever do is to never try. Because the potential of life is always in front of us. And only the memories we make lie behind. Our defining abilities are imagination and courage. Because, to begin with,  that is only and all that we...

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Driving Miss Emma

My favorite Starbucks has a view of seven states, a fantastic rock garden and homemade fudge. Or you might say Rock City has a Starbucks. Why do I like it so much? I’m sure it has to do with our first family vacation to someplace that didn’t have crabs. Maybe it’s the long ago memory of my Dad filling up the gas tank here when it was still a fire hall and gas station. Or it might be the thought of Mom running behind us trying to keep us on the top side of the mountain. Perhaps it’s the joy of showing my bride her first ever mountains on our honeymoon. Possibly, it’s the mental pictures of my three children exploring here during the many day trips from Nashville. Whatever it was, it started a lifelong love of the mountains and massive rocks. It also makes a great place for morning coffee with Mom. And that’s something to celebrate. Just over a year ago, Mom had a rare allergic reaction to the diabetic medicine Metformin. After a long hospital stay, she ended up in a nursing home with full blown dementia . Only my sister’s research into rare side effects led us to try taking her off the medicine. Mom was better in two days. Doctors were surprised. We were thrilled. A year later, Mom lives with us in the mountains she took me...

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Dead Battery Day

It’s the little things that do you in. I’m all set to climb mountains, write a book, lose 25 lbs and change the world . . . but the car won’t start. Dead battery. Won’t charge with jumper cables. Not a peep, chirp, or moan. Overheard in the excuse line at the Pearly Gates:”Saint Peter, I would have changed the world but there was this battery.” Yeah, lame. So I put my plans on hold, told my emotions to shut up and get in the truck and bought a battery. The rest of the day went to pieces. Nothing I planned got done. Who knows what would have happened if the car had started. But that’s life. You usually don’t get to slay dragons and save the village. You do what has to be done and don’t expect an ovation. No glory, no credit, no problem. Take out the garbage. Change a diaper. Mow the lawn. Wash the dishes. All the while dreaming of the great things you could be doing. And life slips by. Take the kids to soccer. Pass up fries for salad. A few sets at the gym. Do your homework. Check a forehead for fever. Call a sick friend. Work hard for that promotion. Sure coach, I’d love to run the bleachers one more time. Say a prayer. Hold a door. Do the right thing. Nobody’s getting...

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Let’s Talk About the Weather

Today is one of those anything-can-happen kind of days. After a long, hot summer and a waft of post-hurricane Gulf Coast humidity, today is a perfect day. I took a long walk up Lookout Mountain and now I’m sitting on my favorite coffee shop patio. It’s cool, cloudless and humidity free with a slight breeze. Things have already gone wrong today but none of it matters. It’s just too perfect! I’m happier than my life warrants and I feel like I can accomplish all of my dreams. So, here’s the question. Where was this Dennis yesterday or last week when it rained torrents? Nothing has significantly changed with my life. In fact, some details are worse today. But right now, I feel like no problem is too big. I’m unstoppable. So, does the weatherman really run my life? Am I a slave to barometric pressure? Can a rain cloud really wreck my world? Honestly, today I could care less! Weather forecast for tonight: dark. ~ George...

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NFL Standings

It’s day one of the NFL season and everyone is a winner. No one knows what will happen. Who will win? Who will stay healthy? Who will set records? Who will be a champion? Who will make us scream like teen-age girls at a Justin Beiber concert? Time will tell. But one thing’s for certain, a lot of people will fall down. Well, get get knocked, thrown, spun, flipped and ground down. And they will stand back up – some slower than others. What better day to launch my blog, The Art of Standing? What’s it about? It’s about the best of us. From the smallest step to the most courageous accomplishments, it’s about the best part of the human race – the ability to flip setbacks into comebacks, the ability to find hope in any situation, the ability to stand back up after going down hard. It’s about courage. It’s about life. It’s also about fun. Because a good sense of humor may not be required but it’s certainly helpful. It’s about encouragement, courage and living life like you mean it. About having the best life you can. About reaching for dreams, and finding them. But this is just the first day, and there’s a lot of football to watch so pull up a chair and pass the cheese dip, will ya?   Photo by AJ Guel...

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