Are we there yet?

March 20-26, 2017

Vern: Four tails! Oh, Jesus, man, that’s a goocher!   ... That’s really bad! Remember when Clint Bracken and those guys got wiped out on Reed Hill in Durham? Billy told me they was flippin’ for beers, and they came up with a goocher before they got into the car, and bang! They all got totaled! I don’t like this, man, sincerely...     “Stand by Me” 1986

I’ve talked about how the word, goocher, has morphed over the years in our family, from getting four tails and certain bad luck, in Odd Man Out, to more along the lines of synchronicity, or meaningful coincidences. We are of course liberal with our interpretation; oftentimes apply it to those non-meaningful coincidences as well. That being said, I had a two goochers in the same week not long ago.

The first came to me in an email when I was sitting in the lecture of our Tuesday night bible class. Normally I don’t check e-mails when I’m in something as important as bible study, but felt compelled to as we listened to the details of the sacrifices in Leviticus. The email came from Bud Finley, who is one of our subscribers over in Saline County. Bud is also a lifelong friend of one of my main sources of material, Fred Springstead.

Bud wrote that he had read my column about events from 1975, where I mentioned the “Thrilla in Manilla,” the classic bout between heavyweights Muhammed Ali and Joe Frazier. Then, Bud informed me, when he went back a few pages to look at some of the weekly data we publish, he came across the name of a plaintiff in a divorce, which was, believe it or not, Ali Frazier. I checked, and this is not fake news. Thanks for pointing this out Bud and for being a loyal reader.

The following Sunday morning I was visiting New Life Church in Maumelle. I was by myself because KM was teaching Sunday school at our church and I felt an urge to go back and visit New Life. It was my second time.

I walked in and worship had already begun. The music, with the seven vocalists, three guitarists,  drummer and keyboard player, sounded great. I felt like I should have bought a ticket. The sanctuary was packed and I was a little late; and stood there looking for a place to sit, while wondering at the same time if this church would be right for KM and me. It certainly was different than what I’d grown up with, or been a part of the past thirty years; maybe I’d get a sign.

I spotted a seat and made my way down the aisle, where I squeezed in between some young people on my left and a couple closer to my age on my right. I settled in and was about to join in the singing when I looked to my right and thought I recognized the guy. But it was dark and I couldn’t be sure. Then he looked right at me and I did recognize him as an old friend who used to go to our church, Jon Hedges. Next to him was his wife Janet, who ran the youth programs and with whom I had taught many times. I stuck out my hand to Jon and said my name and he smiled back, grabbing my hand. Then he whispered something to Janet and she was smiling too as we leaned in front of Jon to give each other a hug.

I had to leave a little early and did not have a chance to visit with them, but the next day, I felt something in my coat pocket and pulled out the New Life program, which made me smile again about seeing my friends, the Hedges.

Then I turned to the back of the program, where I read the scripture that is there each week, from Luke 14:23 – “And the master said, go out into the highways and among the hedges, and compel the people to come in, that my house may be filled.”

That’s a goocher of synchronicity proportions if I ever saw one.

Jay Edwards is publisher of the Daily Record. Contact him at