Official Newspaper of Eddy County since 1883

Articles written by Jase Graves


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  • The world's greatest inventions

    Jase Graves|Feb 19, 2024

    A couple of days ago, I retrieved one (of about a hundred) of our family doglets' chew bones from the seemingly unreachable chasm under my youngest and quietest daughter's bed using an ingenious invention of my own making – namely a straightened-out wire clothes hanger. This same apparatus also comes in handy for retrieving various undergarments (along with a metric ton of lint) that somehow fall behind – and then underneath – our washer and dryer. The clothes hanger/wonder hook prompted me to c...

  • When memory flails

    Jase Graves|Feb 12, 2024

    Now that my age has surpassed the mid-century mark and I'm more ancient than virtually all professional athletes, everyone in my department at work, and even my pastor at church, I've noticed that the old memory is not what it used to ... Wait. What was I writing about again? My cognitive decline became all too obvious the other day when I was at the Verizon store upgrading to one of those newfangled iPhone jumbo-large-print editions with a camera powerful enough to take photos of the porta pott...

  • My New Year's anti-resolutions

    Jase Graves|Jan 8, 2024

    A few days ago, during one of those rare occasions when our whole family was together and my three semi-grown daughters weren't nursing an iPhone while wearing universe-canceling headphones, my wife posed probably the most oft-asked question this time of year: "Does anyone have any New Year's resolutions?" Although that conversation quickly took an off-ramp into a discussion of something earth-shattering like Taylor Swift's armpits, it got me thinking about my own potential resolutions, or, in...

  • Neighbors, start your Christmas lights

    Jase Graves|Dec 4, 2023

    Each year the weekend after Thanksgiving, I sense an innate urge to risk life, limb and public humiliation by festooning the exterior of our home with several hundred C9 incandescent lights. (I'm still resisting the whole LED craze – also known as "the Devil's bulbs.") My mild-mannered next-door neighbor and I always engage in an unspoken competition to see who can get their Christmas lights up first, but since I have the holiday sleeping habits of an inebriated grizzly bear in m...

  • Dad's lumbar moving company

    Jase Graves|Sep 18, 2023

    Recently, my wife and I accomplished a task almost as daunting as giving our cat a pill or teaching our youngest daughter to drive without committing widespread curb trauma. In two days, we managed to move our two older daughters (and several cargo containers’ worth of semi-grown daughter stuff) into new apartments in two different college towns over 100 miles from each other. Apparently, my daughters are acutely allergic to remaining in a particular college residence for more than one academic year. Forcing them to do so would undoubtedly trig...

  • A summer staycation travel guide

    Jase Graves|Aug 7, 2023

    Are you tired of financing a tank of gas? Are you afraid your armpits might burst into flames if you leave the air-conditioned confines of your home? Or maybe, like our family, you blew a decade’s worth of vacation savings on a trip to New York City over the Christmas holidays, and you’re still having night terrors about subway rats dancing to Broadway show tunes. Whatever your reasons, if you are in the midst of a summer staycation this year, the following is a brief guide for enjoying the exotic destination of your home address. First, a stay...

  • A love letter to my generator

    Jase Graves|Jul 3, 2023

    Dear Generac standby home generator, I want to apologize for calling down multiple elaborate curses upon you for being so expensive as you sat loitering beside the house almost completely idle for the three years since I financed you – despite the fact that the electricity in our neighborhood had previously been about as reliable as a toddler doing Algebra. I must admit that I bought you on the rebound. I was just coming off a string of hurtful betrayals by our power company. We had been on and off for some time. Often, when our power went o...

  • How to "un-dorm" a college student

    Jase Graves|May 29, 2023

    Every year in late spring, parents of college students all over America travel to university campuses with stylish IKEA storage bags or (in our case) cardboard boxes that once held bulk orders of toilet paper and tortilla chips. When the parents arrive, they joyfully greet their academically-hungover children and start the arduous and sometimes pungent process of “un-dorming.” My wife and I recently drove in our decrepit but cavernous 2013 SUV to move our middle daughter and her dirty laundry back home from college. Upon our arrival to cam...

  • Spring broke

    Jase Graves|Mar 27, 2023

    When my three semi-grown daughters were young (and since I work in the lucrative world of public education), we’d spend our spring break holidays riding bikes to the park, making dad-sized pillow forts in the living room, and raiding the gift shop at the zoo. Now that two of the girls are in college and one is in high school, those days (and our gift-shop cash) are long gone. This year, I spent most of my spring break competing with my youngest daughter to see who could sleep in the latest without developing bed sores. She usually won (...

  • To drive or not to drive

    Jase Graves|Mar 20, 2023

    Along with identifying as “Swifties,” ignoring the reported Chinese threat of bad dancing posed by TikTok, and pretending that plant-based meat is actually edible, many young people in America are engaging in another fascinating trend – not driving. According to recent surveys, around 20 percent fewer teens of driving age are getting their driver’s licenses as compared to the glorious 1980s. Much to the relief of my insurance premiums, our youngest daughter, who recently turned 16, is one of these vehicular agnostics. Speaking of the 1980s,...

  • Escape from New York and Southwest Airlines

    Jase Graves|Jan 23, 2023

    In the 1980s, I repeatedly watched a recorded copy of the film "Escape from New York" on my family's Panasonic VCR – complete with tuning knobs the size of hubcaps. Little did I know that I would star in my own version of the movie (as a domesticated, tattoo-less and slightly flabby version of Snake Plissken) on a recent holiday vacation to the Big Apple. Of course, my family and I chose to travel to New York City during one of the coldest Christmas seasons on record– so cold that even the sub...

  • Christmas lights: A judgmental guide

    Jase Graves|Dec 19, 2022

     One of my fondest childhood memories of Christmas in the 1970’s was riding around in the family station wagon, “Bessie,” to look at Christmas lights while I whined to my parents about needing a snack – again. There was something magical about a familiar evening landscape transformed to a radiant wonderland at the expense of someone’s lumbar spine.  My dad always made sure that our house was exemplary in its presentation of illuminated holiday décor, and even now, his legendary displays make my own attempts look like those of an unsupervised to...

  • What's in my name?

    Jase Graves|Oct 24, 2022

    I've experienced a lifelong identity crisis, of sorts, because of my name (or names), and I've actually kind of enjoyed it – most of the time. The controversy began in 1970, around the time that I made my almost 10-pound newborn debut (sorry, Mom). Apparently, the discussion between my parents centered on whether to name me "Jase" or "Jason," both names originating from a Greek word meaning "healer" or "royal pain in the rear." Other than referring to me as their massive baby who was like d...

  • If you can't beat the heat, join it

    Jase Graves|Aug 15, 2022

    East Texas is hot, and not in the way you compliment your wife when she's mad at you for performing an epic cannonball while she's lounging by the pool with her laptop. For the past few weeks, Texas (and much of the world) has been suffering through a distressing phenomenon known as summer – that time of year when we all remember what it's like being toddlers walking around with drenched undergarments. I realize that my opinion may seem blasphemous to those who enjoy a good lower-body heat r...

  • Have you seen my wallet?

    Jase Graves|Feb 14, 2022

    I have a problem. I misplace my wallet – a lot. In fact, if losing wallets was an Olympic sport, I'm pretty sure I'd be investigated for doping. And according to a 2018 survey by MoneyTips, I'm not alone, joining the 62% of survey respondents who said they had also lost their cash taco, or had it stolen. I relapsed again recently on a Saturday morning road trip with my wife and some friends, trying to convince myself that I would enjoy attending a college basketball game more than sleeping u...

  • A lifetime case of the girl crazies

    Jase Graves|Jan 24, 2022

    I was recently invited to speak at a local women's organization meeting in my hometown. Apparently, I was pretty much their last option, right behind the auto-warranty telemarketer and the tax auditor. Since I couldn't imagine what I would discuss that might interest a women's group, I went for the obvious–my lifelong, chronic case of the girl crazies. In my younger years, it had always been my dream – even my goal – to be surrounded by women, and now I live in a house with four of them; I work...

  • Are you too old for Santa Clause?

    Jase Graves|Dec 20, 2021

    Children all over the United States are currently wringing their iPhone-calloused hands over the possibility that Santa Claus might not make it this year because he's trapped in a delayed shipping container somewhere off the coast of California. The situation is a little different at my house. With three daughters in their mid-to-late teens, my wife and I are starting to wonder how much longer we should renew our private contractor partnership with Old Saint Nick. When the girls were younger...

  • School project management

    Jase Graves|Oct 18, 2021

    Raising three daughters has come with many delights, challenges, prayers and moments standing in that certain aisle at Target trying to figure out the differences between “ultra,” “Infinity FlexFoam,” “overnight,” “sport,” “wings,” “Radiant,” and “Just ask your wife, you goober.” One ordeal that all parents are destined to endure at some point is the dreaded school project – specifically designed by educators to exact revenge upon parents who actually believe that their child is “a joy to teach.” When our daughters first started school, I...

  • Take a hike. Save a tick.

    Jase Graves|Aug 23, 2021

    With blistering summer weather in full force and shiny new COVID-19 variants emerging like another season of "The Bachelor," many Americans have taken to the great outdoors–despite recently reported attacks by grizzly bears, alligators, and President Joe Biden's surviving German shepherd, Major (R.I.P. Champ). And speaking of cantankerous canines, I normally limit my own experiences with nature to mowing my yard and taking evening walks with my wife around our subdivision–where we sometimes enc...

  • Teach a man to fish, or not

    Jase Graves|Jun 14, 2021

    You may have heard the proverb, "Give a man a fish, and you'll feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you'll feed him for a lifetime of crushing debt after he buys the boat, trailer, tackle, depth finder, trolling motor, etc." Seriously, though, despite my dad's best efforts throughout my childhood, and a few excursions of my own as an adult, I'd still rather someone just give me the fish – preferably deep fried with a side of coleslaw and hush puppies. Don't get me wrong, though, I do e...

  • Resurrecting Easter

    Jase Graves|Mar 29, 2021

    Holidays are a big deal at my house. While raising our three daughters, my wife and I have thoroughly enjoyed Halloween costumes, visits from the Easter Bunny, and Valentine's Day parties - and we even let the kids join in most of the time. Seriously, though, now that our girls are teenagers, some of the holiday magic might be slightly diminished, but we still try our best to get them excited about celebrating, usually by involving cash. I think I inherited my enthusiasm for holidays from my...

  • Get your mind off politics

    Jase Graves|Feb 8, 2021

    As some people age, they begin to lose a certain degree of excitement about simple life experiences like snow days, finding a penny in a parking lot or putting on a pair of fresh underwear still warm from the dryer. Not me! I revel in these moments, probably because I still feel like a kid at heart- at least until my hair stylist breaks out her lawn equipment to trim my eyebrows. In these trying times when the American political system resembles a disturbing bonus episode of "Tiger King," it's...

  • All I want for Christmas is the new vaccine!

    Jase Graves|Dec 21, 2020

    Now that we are well into the month of December, my three teenage daughters have provided me with their extensive Christmas lists – both electronic and hard copies – in triplicate. Full of the typical objects of adolescent desires like designer clothing, electronics, jewelry, and luxury vehicles, their lists read like the inventory of Elon Musk's next yard sale. My list, on the other hand, is simple. All I want for Christmas is for life to return to the way it was in the good old days of 201...

  • Elect to talk politics with the family

    Jase Graves|Nov 9, 2020

    I usually avoid discussing politics in my columns, mainly because I would rather not be disowned by family members, unfriended by friends, or doused with milkshakes and other beverages by complete strangers at the local Whataburger. This time, though, I just can’t help getting out my big ol’ stir-up-sumpin’ stick. I’ll begin by announcing that I recently cast (as in chucked, lobbed or hurled) my vote for President of the United States of ‘Merica. I decided to vote early so I could avoid the airborne particles of other humans on Election...

  • Cooking my way through quarantine

    Jase Graves|May 18, 2020

    Ever since our local mayor issued a COVID-19 shelter-in-place-and-go-completely-cocoa bananas order, my family and I have found ourselves cooking more than we have for our entire lives. We’ve even been following recipes and using the actual stove/oven thingy, much to the relief of our exhaustipated microwave. And considering the Mad Max-wasteland conditions in the “cooking-stuff-from-scratch” aisle at Walmart, we aren’t the only ones. It all started on the first night of quarantine when we all got tired of sitting around and staring at our iPh...

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