If I hadn’t grown up with a father, two grandfathers, a barrage of crazy uncles, and a cousin who were all from Alabama, and all insanely nuts about stock car racing, I’m not sure that I would be a NASCAR fan.   

But I am. Or at least, I used to be.  

If you’ve got a child, or a grandchild, in school, you should probably read this. 

In case you missed it, news broke in November that the City of Tuscaloosa was spending approximately $56,000 on Christmas decorations this year. I subsequently got some emails from some concerned citizens voicing their frustrations (like I can do anything about it).  

I’ve always loved the holidays and the overabundance of food and the weird, hybrid Thanksgiving recipes brought by each person that walks in the door. I’d always heard that you can’t ruin dressing. 

Yes. Yes, you can. You can absolutely, positively, 100 percent ruin dressing. 

Last month, my sister-in-law had a car accident. It was not her fault, as she was simply cruising a straight road, innocently (albeit, dreadfully) headed to work on a Monday morning. But other than to law enforcement and the insurance companies, the person who was at fault really didn't matter. All three of the people involved were hurt, one of which was serious. 

Don't worry. CFVD is not as bad as it sounds. 

By the time you read this, you most likely will have taken in your first annual dose of the phenomenon that is College Football.  

Quick note: Before we get started, thank you for all the positive feedback on last month’s article regarding the importance of turn lanes being included on major highways. Discrimination in any form is bad and will not be tolerated, including bias toward turn lanes. #savetheturnlanes

Welcome to summer! We've skipped spring and entered directly into humidity heaven. Let the sweat commence!

I typically use this space of beautiful, contextual prose to try and enlighten lives in our community, or to make fun of myself, as a reminder that we are all humorously flawed individuals. 

But not today. Today, you get a mild rant… fueled by ongoing frustration. And I bet you can guess what it concerns before you proceed. 

“Can I refill your eggnog for you? Get you something to eat? Drive you out to the middle of nowhere and leave you for dead?”Clark W. Griswold

If you are reading this, then most likely there is a reminder in your immediate vicinity that Christmas is coming. Soon.

After enduring a balmy and unpleasantly humid September and October, fall has seemingly arrived, bringing those of us who tend to sweat profusely some relief. Time for turkey! And to climb up in the attic and break out the reindeer décor. 

I thought it might also be a good time to clean out the old electronic mail bag and actually respond to some questions and comments the loyal DCL readers send me or ask me in person (yes… believe it or not, sometimes people actually read my column and send inquiries). Shocking, right?

So, here goes. Feel free to send your own. I’m no “Dear Abby.” But “Dear Derek” has a nice ring to it.  

Q: Derek, will you ever post your favorite recipes or at least your favorite things to cook when at home with your family?

A: Recipes … Eh, probably not. “Executive Director” and “Executive Chef” are two entirely different things. I claim to be the former, but definitely not the latter. I leave the recipes for the experts (see Amy Poore’s recipes section). But I do make a mean jambalaya, which is a slightly altered version of my mother’s recipe.  My better half can also whip up a fantastic dish that we’ve named “Reef Chicken” as an honorarium to a now out-of-business restaurant we used to frequent. You’ll have to ask her if she’s willing to give it up.

Q: Derek, do you see the traffic situation in Tuscaloosa ever improving? 

A: Yes. In the summer when school is out. And during the winter break. In all seriousness, there are strategic plans in the works to relieve traffic issues across our fair county. But as you know, those things take time. And due to construction, the situation will likely get worse before it gets better. When it comes to traffic in T-Town, patience is a virtue (and apparently, a requirement). 

Q: Derek, Walt Maddox is running for governor. Any chance you’ll throw your name in the hat to be the next mayor of Tuscaloosa if he wins?

A: Negative. I honestly enjoy my current employment too much to give it up. Plus, Mrs. Oz might (replace with “could” … no, replace with “would”) take issue with the idea. And besides that, writing a monthly op-ed in a community newspaper does not necessarily qualify one to be THE mayor. Never say never, but replacing Walt with someone that can handle the challenges our growing city faces won't be an easy task, should he high-tail it to exotic Montgomery. And if that happens, all I can say is … choose wisely.  

I tweet insignificant things @ozborn34.      

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Druid City Living (DCL) is Tuscaloosa, Alabama's premier community newspaper, covering the great people, places and activities of the area.



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