If my first two columns haven’t thoroughly confused you, get ready — the third time is the charm.

Imagine all your Thanksgiving leftovers — turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce, gravy, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, potato chips (or not) — puréed in a blender and served in a 44-ounce cup. Welcome to this column, which could aptly be titled “The inner workings of a writer’s mind” or “How my mind drifts off when I can’t think of something interesting to say.” You pick the appropriate title (I know which one gets my vote.)

I tend to start a column and have about a dozen topics filter through my head while I write. Most days I sort through them fairly well — today was not one of those days.

With that said, let us begin our journey ...

As I was preparing to post to Facebook the Bulletin’s articles on the playoff victories for Bangs, Richland Springs, Goldthwaite and Santa Anna Friday night, a numbing sensation came over me when I read that “J.R. Ewing” — actor Larry Hagman — was dead.

The feeling is hard to explain since during the airing of the original “Dallas” series from 1978-1991, my age ranged between diapers and almost being able to drive legally. Everyone who owned a television in 1980 was consumed by “Who shot J.R?” However, that particular caper occurred well past my bedtime — and was slightly above my comprehension level at age 4.

As I’ve gotten a little older, through reruns and Youtube, I’ve watched a good deal of “Dallas” over the years, and was a huge fan of the new version of the series that airs on TNT.

The second season is already filmed and slated to begin airing in January, but it’s going to be bizarre to watch. During the history of “Dallas,” no matter how stacked the odds — mostly due to his own doing — J.R. not only survived, but found a way to prosper — if only for a short amount.

I’m sitting here trying to wrap my head around the idea of watching “Dallas” with J.R. in a couple of months, when I know the man who plays J.R. is dead. Maybe, I’m weird — actually, I’m pretty sure I’m weird — but things like that just get to me.

At age 81, after battling cancer and receiving a liver transplant in 1995, the fact that Hagman lived into his eighth decade is astounding — but it also fueled the myth, at least with me, that “J.R.” is, or was, indestructible.

Now the guy “Dallas” fans hated to love and loved to hate is gone and no story line will bring him back. I must admit, I’m curious to see how the new version of “Dallas” handles the character’s demise on camera and if the franchise can survive without him.

Whether it’s the fictional television world, or everyday reality, we’ve lost an amazing talent that will never be duplicated.

Completely shifting gears, why is there such a rush for Christmas to arrive?

I was driving home last week from work, the Sunday before Thanksgiving to be precise, when I arrived on my street to the sight of one house completely decked out in lights and another with a tree aglow in the window.


Every calendar I’ve ever seen says November comes before December, thusly Thanksgiving falls before Christmas. Why the rush to bypass one holiday for another?

My younger brother’s birthday is Dec. 11 so, growing up, we never had anything Christmas related in the house until after that passed. Maybe that’s the origin of all my questions? Still, that’s two weeks of lights, a tree, decorations, Christmas music and all the trimmings. And if you’re lazy like we were, it could be three or four weeks if you never get around to taking it down.

There are those who claim the decorations put them in the Christmas spirit but, to me, seeing the electric bill after six weeks of lighting up the neighborhood would put me in an entirely different frame of mind.

The decorations you display — no matter how lavish — and the presents you buy — no matter the bargains — are not what Christmas is about, though often times it’s hard to tell these days. Sure it’s nice to see a smile on someone’s face when they open your gift or to be complemented on your Clark Griswold lighting contest entry, but can’t we get a handle on the overboard excessiveness.

And let’s not forget the true meaning of the holiday.

I’ll squeeze in one additional thought here, though it deserves more space and time than I have available at the moment.

Thanksgiving Day marked the 49th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy — Nov. 22, 1963.

As a kid — and to be honest, as an adult — I was/am consumed by all conspiracy theories in my spare time. At one point, I believe in sixth grade, I declared I was dedicating my life’s work to solving the murder.

Some believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone, some don’t, but that’s not where I’m going with this.

As a history buff, and someone who will listen to anyone who mentions “conspiracy” in my presence, the news coverage, documentaries and “special investigations” that will no doubt accompany the 50th anniversary will certainly be DVR material for me.

It’s strange in a way since the assassination took place 13 years before I was born. Then again, I just attempted to pay tribute to an actor whose most famous role originated while I was doing my writing with crayons.

Some people are said to be born ahead of their time. Based on my tastes, I probably got to the party a little too late.

Derrick Stuckly is the sports editor of the Brownwood Bulletin. His column appears on Sundays. He may be reached by e-mail at derrick.stuckly@brownwoodbulletin.com.