Nolan Getaways – 1994

Travel by Lewis and Betty Nolan


Jan. 24-25: Nashville

Jul. 13-14: Cleveland, TN

Feb. 2-6: San Diego

Jul. 25-27: Liberty Corner, NJ

Feb. 16-17: Nashville

Aug. 6: Old Waverly

Feb. 23-24: Nashville

Aug. 12-13: Freeport, Bahamas

Mar. 5: Old Waverly, West Point, MS

Sep. 3-5: Oak Hill & Kincaid, WVA

Mar. 7-8: Nashville

Sep. 8-9: Manassas & Charlottesville, VA

Mar. 16-Old Waverly

Oct. 9: Old Waverly

Mar. 26-Apr. 3: Gulf Shores, AL

Oct. 16-18: Liberty Corner, NJ

Apr. 7-10: Augusta, GA

Nov. 2-3: Starkville, MS

Apr. 14-15-Starkville, MS & Old Waverly

Nov. 20: Old Waverly

Apr. 20-22-Washington & Charlottesville, VA

Dec. 12-14: Washington, DC

May 5-6: New York & Liberty Corner, NJ

Dec. 21-30: Gulf Shores & New Orleans

May 7: Old Waverly


June 4: Old Waverly


Jun. 30-Jul. 10: Gulf Shores, AL



(Page Updated Sept. 2, 2008)



Continue With Getaways-1995  /  Continue With Nolan Travels Home Page


To Nashville to Hear Gubernatorial Candidates


I drove from Memphis to Nashville in my Ford Taurus station wagon and stayed at the Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza across the street from the Legislative Plaza in the downtown area. I attended the annual meeting of the Tennessee Business Roundtable, which I serve on the Board of Directors. Our group of business leaders from across the state heard brief presentations by all the major candidates running for election as governor. I was able to say hello to all.


My personal favorites are Shelby County Mayor Bill Morris of Memphis, whom I’ve known since he was Sheriff of my home county 20 or so years ago, and Nashville Mayor Phil Bredesden, a wonderfully successful businessman who made a fortune in managing his own health care insurance and delivery company.


A reception I attended was in what in Tennessee is called “the Residence,” government-speak for the Governor’s Mansion in a ritzy area of Nashville.


The next day I met with Nashville-based attorney Fred Thompson in his office. He is a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate and will be a favorite in the race for an open seat being vacated by Democrat Harlan Matthews, who promised the governor that he would not run for re-election upon being appointed to the seat a over a year ago.


Running against Thompson – whose claim to fame was his service as a staff attorney on the Senate Committee that conducted the televised Watergate Hearings - will be longtime Congressman Jim Cooper of Middle Tennessee, a liberal Democrat who has tried to befriend Schering-Plough during some pretty tough times for the pharmaceutical industry in the current pro-regulatory environment.


Unfortunately, I may have pushed my meet-and-greet schedule a little too hard and due to my lowered resistance, drove home with a cold.


To San Diego to Watch Whales, Play Torrey Pines


Feb. 2-6, 1994 – To San Diego


Thanks to some Frequent Flyers free tickets on Northwest collected during my many business trips to Washington and the Northeast, Betty and I flew to San Diego, leaving Memphis at 3:15 p.m. on Wednesday on a flight to, oddly, Detroit to the northeast. That flight connected to another flight to San Diego. Our flight ran late – never a surprise anymore – so we were re-routed through Minneapolis. We finally arrived in San Diego just before 10 p.m. West Coast time.


Luckily, upgrades to First Class seats made the arduous trip less unpleasant. After well over 100,000 air miles of travel, I’ve found that if one if basically friendly, courteous and respectful to the airline gate agents, they will often do their best to reciprocate with upgrades, preferential seating or whatever perks might be in their armamentarium.


While I’ve grown somewhat accustomed to the luxury of these mid-winter getaways on Frequent Flyers awards by airlines and upscale hotels, I fully realize that the free travel is merely a small reward for the immeasurable endurance of the wear-and-tear during the inevitable cancelled and delayed flights, bad food and long hours spent in airports and hotel lobbies that make up the unpublished price of frequent business travel.


We rented a Hertz Mustang convertible at the San Diego airport and drove to the plush Hyatt Islandia overlooking the harbor, arriving about 11 p.m. The outdoor temperature was a little cool, but it is great to be back in California in such a scenic location.


The next morning, the tourist excursion boat “Seaforth” graciously honored our vouchers for guaranteed passage on the boat three years ago when it happened to be skunked on a whale watch cruise. The boat’s owners have three such boats and claim to be only rarely blanked at this time of year when the grey whales migrate down the California coast to warm-water lagoons in Mexico where they breed.


We had a glorious morning on this cruise in the whale traffic lane in about 75-to-80 feet deep about one mile off the coast of San Diego, due west of Mission Bay Beach. We had excellent sights of five grey whales swimming their way to Mexico through the clear, blue water of the Pacific Ocean here.


We happened to be just a few yards away from two young whales – estimated by the boat crew as being one or two years old. They were rolling through the waves and spouting jets of water occasionally through their twin blow holes.


The biggest treat of the cruise came when a young mother and her calf whale came alongside our boat, with the passengers leaning over the rail to take photographs. The two were migrating to Mexican waters. A school of fast-swimming porpoises suddenly appeared and darted around and under the boat then played around the swimming whales for a few, thrilling moments for us and other passengers.


The mother whale seemed to be not-at-all alarmed by the antics of the swarming porpoises.


The boat captain and crew were respectful of the whales and porpoises, steering a straight and slow course so the whales could peel off in another direction if they get nervous because of the boat noise.


We got another treat when we saw a large, solitary whale spouting and surfacing as it rolled through the waves several hundred yards away.


Returning to the boat’s port, Betty and I had a mediocre lunch at a dockside cafe and then drove in our rented Mustang, top-down to Mission Bay. We stopped at the West Coast surfing mecca of Windansea to watch some excellent surfers riding big waves and to purchase for our college-student son, Casey, some surfing tee-shirts at a beach store.


We continued poking our way up the coast and stopped to pay a small fee to clamber down a rocky tunnel to La Jolla Cave, a somewhat famous spot with an “underwater beach” where the waves come crashing into a Cliffside tunnel. While there we saw many sea birds and quite a few body surfers catching and riding some good-sized waves. Lifeguards watch over the open water swim course, which is marked with buoys and used as a venue for triathlons.


While in the vicinity we visited the famous Torrey Pines Golf Course, site of past U.S. Open and other major golf tournaments. It’s a beautiful place, with much of the course elevated and alongside steep cliffs that plunge down to a narrow beach and the Pacific Ocean. We returned to the Hyatt Islandia at dusk, just in time to barely miss a heavy rain shower that drenched the coastline.


It rained most of the day on the Friday of our stay. So we drove to nearby Balboa Park and purchased tourist “passports” at $18 each to 9 of the park’s museums (which if purchased separately as admissions would cost $35). We actually visited 7 of the included museums – dealing with Aviation, Automobiles, Art, History, Model Trains, Photography and Sports. We also visited the splendid Timkin Art Gallery, which had been endowed by the Putnam Sisters. We enjoyed an excellent lunch at the Café d. Pel ray Moro in Balboa Park’s El Prado, a mission-style building.


The skies cleared about 3 p.m., too late to rent bicycles to ride around the scenic marina by the Hyatt Islandia. But we did make a stop at Pacific Bay to watch the surf, sidewalk surfers Southern California is famous for and casual strollers ambling along the boardwalk on the edge of the wonderfully wide, white sand beach.


On Saturday, we returned to Torrey Pines Golf Course where I took advantage of a special deal that the municipal course makes available for tourists like me who want to play but don’t have the time to wait for a week to get a scarce tee time. Paying $75 for a “Golf Package,” I was able to walk six holes with two other guys (brothers from Connecticut by the names of Pete and Paul) and one of the club’s assistant pros, David, for six holes. David gave us playing tips and mini-lessons as we walked, giving him (and other young professionals so engaged) some income during one of the set-aside tee-times for tourists.


The arrangement seemed to be a very good idea, giving the pros an income stream while letting a few tourists onto the course at short notice. David told us that Torrey Pines’s two courses – North and South – make it one of the busiest venues in the U.S. because of its quality and the hot tourist destination of San Diego. Last year, 108,000 rounds of golf were played there, compared to about 30,000 at my home course of Old Waverly Golf Club, a private club in West Point, MS. Torrey Pines is relatively inexpensive for local residents, who pay about $35 for a round of golf with a cart. It costs more for residents who live elsewhere, particularly out of state.


Heavy rain the previous night and the upcoming Shearson Lehman Buick Tournament later in February meant that all golfers had to walk and carry their bag on this day. Pull carts were not allowed so as to keep the carefully manicured, wet grass pristine. Since I had brought along only a half-bag of clubs due to the air travel, it wasn’t too bad walking the walk. But I was tired in part due to my side detours along the hills to enjoy the fabulous views from the cliff tops.


All in all, I hit the ball fairly well. But a few wild shots here and there resulted in a score of 96, several strokes higher than what I thought I should be capable of even at a tough course like Torrey Pines.


After my round of golf, Betty – who had spent 4 ½ hours waiting for me – and I visited the San Diego Glider Park. We enjoyed watching a handful of courageous hang gliders and parasailors swoop around the oceanfront cliffs and sand beaches 300-400 feet below. Southern California definitely gives new meaning to outdoor sports.


We then drove to the nearby University of California at San Diego’s Scripps Institute of Oceanography, a world-famous research institute founded by the creator of the Scripps-Howard newspaper chain where I formerly worked. All the walking on the golf course made my legs too tired to take on a walking tour of the Institute’s aquarium of fish native to the adjacent ocean waters.


Betty and I drove the Mustang convertible to Point Loma to eat at the celebrated Red Sail Restaurant, where we had an inexpensive but excellent seafood lunch. Later, we drove around the incredibly large marina(s) complex at Shelter Island and returned to the Hyatt Islandia.


On Sunday morning, we walked around the marina by our hotel and admired the dozens and dozens of opulent and elegant sailboats and motor yachts. We rented bicycles and pedaled about six miles on the nearby boardwalk, dodging around a great many cyclists, skaters, joggers and walkers. It was a beautiful, Southern California morning with the temperature around 70 degrees and nice surf lapping the beautiful and broad beach.


There were several hundred surfers out in the smallish waves of the Pacific Ocean this day. The conditions looked to be much less ride-friendly than on the previous day. The morning was truly soul-stirring and all-too-short. We stopped at the Seaford Café near the hotel and marina for a good but inexpensive lunch. We then returned our rental Mustang to Hertz and managed to get our free Frequent Flyer airline tickets upgraded to First Class. We flew back to Memphis on Northwest by connecting through cold Minneapolis and arrived back home at 10:31 p.m. that night. I went straight to bed because I was expected back at work the next morning.


Notes I made in my hand-written trip journal included the following recommendations for our next mid-winter getaway to San Diego:


  • Rent a sailboat at $25 an hour.
  • Bring swimming goggles to use in the hotel’s heated pool for lap swimming.
  • Eat again at the Red Sail Restaurant.
  • Visit the Scripps Institute Aquarium.
  • Play the Torrey Pines Golf Course.


To Nashville to Host Dinner for Shelby Delegation


Feb. 16-17, 1994 – To Nashville


I drove from Memphis to Nashville to host a dinner honoring the legislative delegation from Shelby County put on by the Memphis Area Chamber of Commerce’s Government Affairs Council, which I serve as volunteer Chairman.


Nearly all of the Tennessee Senators and Representatives from Shelby County – the largest in the State – attended. My pal of many years, Sen. John Ford, spoke and was most generous about the Chamber and my work.


My speech to the legislators and assembled members of the Chamber’s Government Affairs Council was interrupted by applause when I told the group that we would endorse a legislative proposal to hold a referendum in Memphis on a politically touchy issue of legalizing casinos in Memphis.


The dinner was in Nashville’s plush Cumberland Club downtown. Later that evening, I enjoyed drinks at my hotel, the Holiday Inn Crown Plaza, with Reps. Carol Chumny (a Democrat I recruited to serve with me on the Board of Trustees of the National Ornamental Metal Museum and who later ran for Mayor of Memphis) and Karen Williams (who later served in a big job of Gov. Don Sundquist’s administration and was subsequently appointed to a judgeship of a state court). 


While in Nashville, I also talked to Rep. Rufus Jones about my company’s opposition to a drug price control bill he is sponsoring.


Back to Nashville for High-priced Receptions


Feb. 23-24, 1994 – To Nashville


The Tennessee political climate is heating up as the annual session of the State Legislature is getting underway and the politically active are throwing fund-raisers to raise what former Massachusetts’s Speaker of the House Tip O”Neil once called “the mother’s milk of politics” – cash contributions from lobbyists. I drove to Nashville in a rented Ford Crown Victoria from Fleetmark to participate in the festivities.


With my government affairs job responsibilities and my service as a member of Schering-Plough’s Political Action Committee, the Schering-Plough Better Government Fund, I had obtained a pair of $500 tickets to the annual fund-raiser by the House-Senate Democratic Caucus. I gave one ticket to paid lobbyist Sandy Johnson of the Tennessee Association of Business staff; I serve on the TAB’s Board of Trustees of the business advocacy organization.


I enjoyed drinks and stand-up reception food at the Governor’s Residence, where I said hello to incumbent Tennessee Gov. Ned McWherter, Lt. Gov. John Wilder and other luminaries of the state’s Democratic Party. Sundquist’s friendly relationship with Schering-Plough goes way back to when he was in Congress.


Later that evening, I attended a reception at the Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza, a hotel and lobbying center across the street from Legislative Plaza where I spent the night. While there I talked with Sens. Steve Cohen (a longtime friend who years later was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, John Ford (another friend who unfortunately was sentenced to federal prison in a corruption case), Ward Crutchfield (who represents the section of East Tennessee where my company’s Dr. Scholl manufacturing plant in Cleveland is located) and others.


The third and final reception I attended that evening was hosted by State House Speaker Jimmy Naifeh, where I talked to his longtime lobbyist and onetime Schering-Plough employee Betty Anderson about my company’s opposition to a proposed drug price controls bill.


I drove back from Nashville to Memphis the next day, stopping at Hurricane Mills in the middle section of the state to have a look at the hamlet owned by country singer Loretta Lynn. I poked around the campground/tourist area and looked at her ante-bellum mansion. I found it to be an interesting spot, but wondered if it will survive her.


To Old Waverly for 54 Holes of Golf with Tim Parks


March 5, 1994 – To Old Waverly Golf Club, West Point, MS


I drove to Old Waverly with my longtime friend Tim Parks in my Ford Taurus station wagon on a great spring day, with it being sunny and a temperature in the 70s. We enjoyed an excellent lunch of the club’s big hamburgers made with choice cuts of beef then played 18 holes, followed by another 9 holes. I shot a 94 off the whites and followed that up with a 51 off the blue tees.


Tim shot a 59/54/54. We had a good time and the usual great conversation.


Testimony at House Committee Opposing Rx Bills


March 7-8 – To Nashville


I drove from Memphis to Nashville in a Fleetmark rental Taurus to attend the annual Tennessee Association of Business meeting and a dinner honoring Gov. Ned McWherter. I’ve been on the Board of Governors for TAB for several years and have gotten to know a number of business leaders and legislative office holders from across the state.


The governor accepted an invitation from me and Dave Cooley, president of the Memphis Area Chamber of Commerce, which I serve as chairman of the Government Affairs Council, to come to Memphis to speak at a lunch hosted by the Chamber.


I hosted a dinner at the TAB dinner at the Crowne Plaza Hotel attended by my pals Sens. John Ford and Steve Cohen, Reps. Karen Williams and Carol Chumney; the governor’s Chief of Staff Jim Kennedy and outside PR counsel David Fax.


The next morning, I testified against the so-called “best price” prescription drug bills offered by Rep. Rufus Jones of Memphis, who stalled action his proposal by “rolling it over” for two weeks. I attended a TAB lunch meeting that day, where U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper spoke and my hometown buddy of many years Neil O’Brien was elected chairman of TAB, the largest business lobbying organization in the state.


Neil works across the street from me, at Buckeye Cellulose, and we see each other regularly at meetings of several organizations we support and help lead. I was proud to see his leadership and government relations expertise rewarded by his election. Between the two of us, we now lead the two largest business advocacy organizations in Tennessee (me with the Memphis Chamber’s Government Affairs Council and he with TAB).


I drove back to Memphis after the lunch meeting and made it to my office for catch-up work by 5 p.m.


To Cleveland, TN on LearJet for Dinner, Plant Tour


March 11-12, 1994 – To Cleveland, TN


I flew from Memphis on a chartered LearJet to the Chattanooga airport then rode in a car to our nearby Dr. Scholll’s plant in Cleveland, TN. With me on the plane were Ed McManic, Senior Vice President of Operations for Schering-Plough HealthCare Products, who is the highest ranking company executive in Memphis; Mary Gordon Kerr of my Employee Communications Department; Ty Weeks of our division’s Computer Systems; and Wayne Marton of our company’s Distribution.


We stayed in the Marriott Hotel Downtown and enjoyed an elegant dinner that evening with our company’s president, Dave Collins; Brian Hufford, plant manager of our facility in Cleveland; a half-dozen of Hufford’s managers; and Chuck Jolly of Chattem, a smallish drug manufacturer in Chattanooga who was running for the U.S. Congress seat for the area.


We enjoyed a good dinner at the hotel and talked about the presidency of LBJ, which turned out to be a provocative subject for our group. The next day we treated Jolly to a tour of our Cleveland plant. It was a productive trip even though I was feeling a bit out of sorts with stomach distress – possibly a reaction to the overly rich dinner and too much alcohol.


Three Sub-par 90 Golf Rounds at Gulf Shores


March 26-April 3, 1994 - To Gulf Shores, AL


Betty and I drove from Memphis to Gulf Shores in my Taurus station wagon for her spring break from teaching culinary arts at Northside High School. The weather was a little cool – with the high temperature in the mid-60s on every day but one – but we had sunny skies most of the time. As is my custom, I took a few days of vacation time for the trip but carried along a portable computer so I could stay in touch with the office and do any necessary work.


All in all, we had one of the most relaxing and enjoyable times of our visits that usually occur four times every year since we had bought on condo on the beach nearly a decade ago. I was especially pleased this year following the loss of 4 pounds. I attributed the needed weight loss to regular exercise and my all-seafood diet.


I alternated days spent playing golf or riding bicycles with Betty. I actually had three, consecutive sub-90 rounds for the first time. I had been trying to achieve such consistency since we started coming to Gulf Shores several times a year over a decade ago. My scores of 88, 87 and 89 at the fairly tough, State Park course were all made while walking the entire 18 holes of every round, which was done as part of my fitness program. I also had a score of 92 to break the record string.


When not playing golf, l usually cycled about 10 miles in the bike lanes along the beach highway and in the State Park. Plus I walked two or three miles on the beach on those days.


During one walk down the beach in front of our condo we spotted a small school of porpoises swimming parallel to the beach.


All the exercise combined with a careful diet consisting of seafood and little carbs helped me feel great and sleep well. Betty and I look forward to our future retirement time when we can stay at the beach longer.


When not playing pretty good golf or exercising by walking or riding our bikes, we drove 30 or so miles to enjoy a drink at the Grand Hotel, a classy Marriott at nearby Fairhope, AL. Unfortunately, we got drenched by a surprise thunderstorm.


Fabulous Trip to Master’s Tournament with Casey


April 7-10, 1994 – To Augusta, GA


Adding to my boundless admiration of Dave Collins, the gifted executive and wonderful human being who was president of my company, Schering-Plough HealthCare Products, was maybe the greatest gift I could receive. It was my selection by him, with the approval of my boss, as the awardee of a pair of coveted tickets to the annual Master’s Golf Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia. Airfare tickets and housing for two for the week at one of famed golfer Jack Nickolas’ rental homes plus invitations to exclusive parties were also part of the deal. It was everyman’s fantasy and a dream come true for me.


Nicholas awarded the hard-to-get tickets to my company because our Tinactin brand of athlete’s foot medication was one of the major television sponsors of his famed golf tournament, the Memorial in his home of Columbus, Ohio. Rather than take the Master’s Tickets for himself, as many executives do, Collins had them awarded to me as a “thank you” for some work I had accomplished and he appreciated of significant benefit to the company. I was thrilled and grateful beyond words.


My wife, Betty, had the chance to go on the all-expense paid trip with me, but as the great loving mother she is, demurred in favor of my taking our son with me to the famous tournament. Casey, like me a fervent golfer, arranged to take off from his schoolwork at the University of Virginia, where he majors in Civil Engineering. We arranged for him to fly into Augusta and meet me at a Holiday Inn there reserved for Master’s ticket holders.


It turned out that this was the best father-and-son excursion that I could ever imagine. There were Casey and I at the most famous golf course in the world, watching the best golfers in the world play in ideal weather under picture-perfect conditions. Due to the Nicholas hospitality for his sponsors, Casey and I shared a very comfortable bedroom in a large, luxury home vacated by its owners as a favor to Nicholas.


Our base was 1 of 13 houses that Nicholas rents during Master’s Week. The going rate for such ranges from $2,500-to-$5,000 for the week of the tournament. The home we were in was very nice and had four bedrooms, 3 ½ bathrooms and a Colonial, brick architecture style.


Volunteer women who live nearby came by the home in the mornings to cook gratis breakfast for the guests. A Nicholas employee - who works for Golden Bear International of Muirfield Golf at Dublin, Ohio -  provided van service to and from the guest house to the Augusta National Golf Club. The head host in Nicholas’ absence (he was playing in the tournament) was Larry Paglioni (614-889-6700). Principal van drivers were local teachers David Daniels and Ricky Peace (706-556-3793).


Guests who wanted to play golf were granted privileges at no charge at a nearby country club. There were swanky cocktail parties with food served in the evenings to which guests like Casey and me were invited.


I found out that buyers desperate for tickets to the Masters were bidding $2,000 and up for badges like ours for the week. The badges – which Nicholas somehow obtains from retired golfers with lifetime privileges to the Masters – are supposedly the toughest tickets in sports.  


Casey and I found the course at Augusta National – which we had been seeing on television for years – was glorious. It was absolutely perfectly manicured to the highest standard of beauty. Azaleas were in full bloom with a rainbow of reds, pinks and whites. We spent all day Friday on the course (we could have come in earlier for the practice rounds but due to my work load and Casey’s studies we delayed our arrival until the tournament was underway). We also spent parts of the opening day Thursday as well as Saturday and Sunday on the course.


For me, travel from Memphis to Augusta on Thursday was a mess. My Delta flight to Atlanta was cancelled for mechanical reasons.  My later flight on Northwest was late. Casey’s flight from Charlottesville, VA, was 45 minutes late. It turned out that Budget at the Atlanta airport was out of rental cars due to demand from visitors to the golf tournament. Consequently, we didn’t pull into Augusta until 4 p.m. – not leaving enough time to see much golf.


We made up for it on Friday, when we spent almost the entire day on the course during a coolish but sunny day. We got to see Jack Nicholas, Arnold Palmer, Raymond Floyd, Norman, Seve and virtually the entire pre-cut field. It was beyond great because not only did I see the world’s finest golfers I’d only viewed before on TV, but I had my golf-loving son with me. We enjoyed good vantage points from bleachers discretely placed between Holes No. 11 and 12 and also near No. 13 and No. 15. We also had some good standing views elsewhere.


We saw Payne Stewart drop two iron shots into the pond of water guarding Hole No. 15, where we also saw Greg Norman “suck” one ball back off the green into the pond.


Food offered for sale by half-hidden kiosks and stands on the course was amazingly cheap. It was 75 cents for a Coke and $1.25 for a decent sandwich, a small fraction of what the vendors seeking big profits charge for the same stuff at the Federal Express-St. Jude Golf Tournament in Memphis. It seems that the ultra-rich members of Augusta National are in no need of additional income so keep the prices low in favor of their well-deserved reputation for Southern Hospitality.


Given the difficulty of obtaining tickets to the Masters, Casey and I were among a mostly older crowd, who have been hanging onto renewable tickets obtained decades ago. It was a pleasure to see virtually all the “patrons” – as they are called – so respectful of the course, players and other patrons. We had been advised that even a single indiscretion on the part of a patron (like yelling an obscenity or jumping over a line) usually results in escort by the event’s security staff off the grounds for life.


We attended a fancy reception at a classic Southern mansion one evening. I kept quiet as my underage son accepted a couple of beers offered to all attendees. After all, he has grown up now and while not quite 21 he is a fine young man, as hard as that is for me to believe when in my mind’s eye my thoughts of him picture Casey from his days as a toddler, to when I taught him how to ride a bicycle to when I gave him lessons on rigging and sailing a small sailboat.


Casey and I played 18 holes of golf for free as Jack Nicholas’ guests at Goshen Country Club the next day. Compared to super-plush Augusta National, Goshen was a ratty course. I shot a 102, which for me is unacceptably high.


We spent 4 ½ hours at the Master’s final round on Sunday, with most of our time stationed on a high mound behind Hole No. 7. That popular spot provided a great vantage point of the nearly impossible green with its slick slope. We also enjoyed several views of nearby approach and tee shots.


With the shadows getting longer, Casey and I departed Augusta National for what we hope was not our last time and drove back to Atlanta.  (In fact I won a pair of tickets to practice rounds at the Masters several years later, which Casey and I enjoyed immensely.) At the airport, we caught separate flights to return to our homes in Memphis and Charlottesville. Casey bought some souvenirs for some of his friends and I carried home about $250 worth of shirts, golf towels and balls for my golf buddies.


This trip – with undying thanks to Dave Collins who made it possible – was a memorable and wonderful experience for both Casey and me.


To Starkville to See MSU Dean, Old Waverly for Golf


April 14-15, 1994 – To Starkville and West Point, MS


I drove my Ford Taurus station wagon to Starkville, MS to meet with Jimmy Solomon, Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences at Mississippi State University. MSU is my alma mater and I serve on the Dean’s Advisory Board. While there, I visited Ogden Shaw at the University Art Gallery to discuss an exhibit of MSU art in the lobby of my company’s lobby gallery in Memphis. I also had lunch with my old friend on the university faculty, English Prof. Dr. Clyde Williams.


After lunch I drove 20 or so miles to Old Waverly Golf Club at nearby West Point, where I shot a 91. I learned that because of some decent scores posted recently my club handicap was now a fairly respectable 17.


That evening I attended a retirement roast and dinner at Old Waverly for my former boss, Bill Sorrels/ He is a club member who lives in a home adjacent to Hole No. 11. Bill had been the managing editor of The Commercial Appeal in Memphis when I worked there 1969-1984 and I had the utmost respect for his newspaper leadership and personal qualities. I spent the night in one of the club’s lakeside cottages.


The next day, I was still feeling a little droopy due to a head cold, but tried to play 9 holes of golf. Unfortunately, a heavy rain forced me off the course after only 1 hole. So I drove back to Memphis in time for the opening of the MSU art show at Schering-Plough HealthCare Products administration building at 3030 Jackson Avenue.


To DC for Political Wing-Ding, Campus to See Casey


April 20-22, 1994 – To Washington DC & Charlottesville, VA


I flew from Memphis to Washington National Airport on Northwest with a Memphis Area Chamber of Commerce delegation I led as Chairman of the Chamber’s Government Affairs Council. We called our visit to the Capitol the Washington Leadership Trip. It was attended by 25 business and civic leaders.


We got underway in Washington with a lunch and briefing at the National Chamber of Commerce headquarters, which went pretty well. Then our group was bused to the U.S. Senate, where I was honored to introduce Tennessee Sens. Jim Sasser and Harlan Matthews (both Democrats my company PAC had made substantial campaign contributions to) to the Chamber group. We then repaired to the U.S. House for briefings by Tennessee Reps. Harold Ford, Don Sundquist and John Tanner.


That evening the Chamber hosted a highly successful barbeque reception on the Hill that my company sponsored. My pal Nick Vergos, owner of the world-famous Rendezvous rib restaurant in Downtown Memphis, flew up to cater the event. Among attendees to the coveted meal catered by the Rendezvous were Secretary of Agriculture Mike Espy of Mississippi and prominent Democrats Jim and Lucia Gilliland of Memphis. Jim is General Counsel of the Department of Agriculture and Lucia is special assistant to Tipper Gore, wife of Vice President Al Gore.


Later, I joined Dick Kinney, a Schering-Plough Corporate Vice President and head of our Washington office, at the Dubliner Pub for some Irish beer and later spent the night at the Embassy Suites.


The next day, I drove a rental Avis car to Charlottesville, VA, where I met my son Casey at the Boar’s Head Inn, an expensive place on the outskirts of town that is rich with history. We played a very slow round of golf on the University of Virginia’s Birdwood Course that is near the Boar’s Head. We stopped after 16 holes of maddeningly slow golf and enjoyed a great dinner at the inn’s four-diamond restaurant. While both of us played well below our potential, it was great seeing Casey, who was fighting off a cold. He spent the night in my room at the inn. I drove back to Washington’s National Airport the next morning and flew home.


To New York for NDMA Meeting and Broadway Play


May 5-6, 1994 – To New York and Liberty Corner, NJ


I flew from Memphis to New York’s LaGuardia Airport on a Northwest flight then took a taxi to the Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza Hotel in Midtown Manhattan, where I spent the night. I took a cab the next morning to the Parker Meridian Hotel at 46-47th Street for a meeting of the Public Affairs Committee of the Non-presciription Drug Manufacturers Association. I serve on the committee as a representative of my company, Schering-Plough HealthCare Products, which manufactures and sells nearly $1 billion annually in OTC and related products.


My boss, Dave Collins, is president of NDMA so I am afforded a large voice in Public Affairs Committee meetings.


At the meeting, I reluctantly voted to approve staffer Jack Waldon’s proposal to spend $1.3 million on a special insert about OTC drugs to be published by Reader’s Digest.


That evening, I had a fairly good swordfish dinner at the low-cost Beefsteak Charlie’s Restaurant near my hotel and purchased a half-priced ticket for $23.50 to see the comedy play “ Jackie Mason: Politically Incorrect” at the Golden Theatre on Broadway. It had some funny spots but would not rank among the finest Broadway performances I often enjoy when in New York on business.


I swam laps in the Crowne Plaza indoor pool the next morning then rented a Corsica car from National on West 40th Street in the heart of Manhattan’s Garment District. I drove it through town traffic and the Lincoln Tunnel at mid-morning when the traffic wasn’t too bad. It took about an hour to drive to Liberty Corner, NJ, where my company has its administrative and marketing headquarters.


I had lunch in our office building with my deputy Melissa Faber, who is in charge of our division’s Employee Communications and Employee Activities then met with Senior Vice Presidents Rich Carlsen of Finance; John Clayton of Scientific and Regulatory; and Fred Fritz of Footcare Marketing, who all bought into my proposals for some employee communications matters. I later flew home to Memphis on Northwest, arriving about 8 p.m. and went to bed early to rest before driving to West Point, MS the next day.


To Old Waverly With Tim, Curtis for Middling Golf


May 7, 1994 – To Old Waverly Golf Club, West Point, MS


I drove to Old Waverly with my friends Curtis Downs, a fellow member of the club, which is one of the Top 100 ranked in the U.S., and Tim Parks, whose “average” game approximates my own game. The weather was delightful for this time of year and the course was in great shape as usual.


We had a great day of golf. I shot  a 42 on the front 9 and a 50 on the back 9 for a score of 92. There was a lot of afternoon sun remaining, so we went around for another 9 holes. I shot a pretty good 44 off the blue tees. Skies were mostly cloudy and we dodged a short shower. I congratulated myself for hitting the ball better than I had remembered ever hitting it on this course. Curtis, usually a golfer at least a few strokes better than me, struggled all day.


We drove back to Memphis in the rain, arriving about 10:15 p.m.


Don Holmes’ Basketball Coaching Tips for Casey


June 4, 1994 – To Old Waverly Golf Club, West Point, MS


Casey was home for the summer from the University of Virginia so the two of us drove to Old Waverly with Betty’s teaching colleague, Coach Don Holmes of Northside High School. He is a great golfer who has twice won the Memphis Publinx Tournament and who could have become a PGA professional player if the career ball had bounced more favorably when he was young.


During the three-hour drive from Memphis to the golf club where I’m a member, Don gave Casey some thoughtful tips on coaching during his Casey’s upcoming summer work coaching a Memphis Metro Basketball clinic. They worked out an advisory schedule that I’m sure Casey will find to be valuable.


Now that Casey is a young man who plays golf on the University of Virginia’s course during the school year and hits the ball pretty well most of the time, I was a distant third in our scores at Old Waverly.


Back to Gulf Shores for More Corporate Phone Work


June 30-July 10, 1994 – To Gulf Shores, AL


I drove to Gulf Shores with Betty while Casey stayed at home in Memphis to attend summer school at Memphis State University. He was re-taking Calculus, which he failed after becoming seriously ill at the University of Virginia in the last school year, and also Micro Economics. (We were pleased to see that he really buckled down and got serious about learning as much as he could, earning ‘A’s in both subjects.


Highpoints of our stay of just over a week in our condo on the beach at Gulf Shores:


  • I walked a lot on the golf course at the State Park and on the beach.
  • My scores at the State Park course were 91 and 95. I also shot a 93 at the Gulf Shores Country Club.
  • Betty and I brought our 10-speed bikes with us, strapped on the back of my Taurus station wagon. We rode along the bike paths just off the beach for rides of 11, 12 and 11 miles.
  • We had a telephone installed in our condo and we pleased at the prospect of greater convenience and lesser cost than offered by my work cellphone or walking to a nearby pay phone in our condo complex.


I put in quite a few hours working on my company-provided laptop computer starting July 5, when my boss, Bob Raub, called me with the news that our much admired company president, Dave Collins, had scheduled his retirement. He also told me that Dave would be succeeded by Don Conklin, who had been the top executive of Schering-Plough’s Pharmaceutical operations. I had been around Don a few times and was familiar with his “tough guy” reputation, making the prospects of a change in management from Dave’s “enlightened” style foreboding. I felt bad for Dave, who has been an executive’s executive and had fought too many losing battles at the corporate level. He came in under a five-year contract, which sadly was not renewed upon expiration. He had been one of the best, most enlightened and most brainy bosses (an honors grad of Harvard Law School) I ever had and it was a pleasure to work for him.)


Combined with some rain toward the end of our stay, the stress raised by the prospects of new management with uncertain direction in my company were not conducive to a good vacation. (My unease turned out to be well-founded as two years later I was forced out of the company where I had prospered and had reached the peak of my work advancement during my 12 years there.)


To Bahamas for Slight Gambling, Tough Golf & Sun


Aug. 12-15, 1994 – To Freeport, Bahamas Islands


Betty and I took advantage of a deeply discounted, promotional deal by a casino company to fly from Memphis to Freeport in the Bahamas at a great price and enjoy a resort hotel room for three nights at only $298 each.


The getaway travel was on a chartered jet owned by Lakers Airways and our lodging was at the Grand Bahamas Princess, an OK hotel that was in need of a total refurbishing to island luxury standards. The golf course was nice but a little tight for my game, with the rough defined by impenetrable jungle growth. I managed to shoot only a 104 on the course thick with healthy turf  and manicured greens.


Feeling some small obligation to gamble, I proceeded to drop all the change I had in a strange slot machine device, losing 75 cents in the hotel casino. We took a hotel shuttle bus to a nearby beach, which was decent but the water was murky due to a recent storm offshore. We later took a $40 taxi tour around Freeport and were impressed with the tropical beauty of the island.


With about zero interest in playing the casino’s slots or gaming tables, we ended up spending most of our time lazing around a picturesque hotel pool. It was an enjoyable getaway, but I doubt I’ll forget the assurances airplane staff gave us on the ride home concerning the importance of completing a hotel questionnaire. Being told that responses would not affect the later giveaway of a courtesy bag of souvenirs to everybody who filled out a questionnaire, I honestly wrote that I had gambled less than $5 while at the resort. I never did get a follow-up courtesy bag or even a thank-you letter.


‘Take Me Home, To West Virginia, Country Roads’


Sept. 3-5, 1994 – To Beckley, Deepwater, Kincaid & Wriston, WVA


Searching for my to-date elusive family roots, I flew on Delta from Memphis to Atlanta then transferred to an ASA flight to Charleston, WVA to spend three days exploring my late mother’s family roots in southwest Virginia.


I stayed at a Hampton Inn in Beckley, WVA, which in the early part of the 20th Century had boomed as a coal mining center. Today, with the major mines pretty well played off, Beckley remembers its heritage with an underground tour in a tiny train of a non-functioning mine, which I took to learn a lot about the rewards and perils of mining practiced by one of my uncles whom I never met and hundreds of other men. I also got an up-close-and-personal look at why my mother largely concealed her humble, West Virginia background after she married a successful physician - my late father who was an honored pathologist - and they moved elsewhere.


My book, the 640-page “Nolan-Miller Family History,” contains a longish chapter detailing my short time in West Virginia during three days in 1994. The book is available in many libraries in towns and universities that are important to my family’s 300 years of history in the United States. So detail about my trip research will be only summed up here.


  • I had a wonderful dinner at the home of my second cousins Lena Ford and her husband, Leon Ford, who live in Oak Hill, WVA. Leon grew up with Garnett Elizabeth Ford, my mother’s name before she married Dr. Lewis Earle Nolan. Leon was 10 years her junior but knows a lot of family history about the Fords that she never told me about.
  • I attended the 67th, annual Cottle Family Reunion in the Fayette County Park and learned a little about my late grandmother who was my mother’s mother, Lizzie Cottle. While at the Reunion I met many distant cousins, who were warmly hospitable to me even though I was the first Ford descendant to attend the event.
  • I drove a rental Avis Chevrolet around to a number of once-thriving communities that played a large role in my mother’s formative years. Among them were the coal towns of Beckley, Deepwater, Kincaid, Page (now only a wide spot in the highway with a few simple houses remaining), Oak Hill and Wriston.


My journey to West Virginia brought back a lot of memories of my childhood in Fairmont, WVA, where my parents lived and I attended kindergarten and first grade before we moved across the country to Sacramento, CA.


To this day, I still have a few recollections of attending the school. They include my napping on a small throw rug brought from home; the sadness of having my pet turtle (acquired for me by my father at a turtle race) disappear forever when he crawled under our two-story house as winter was falling; seeing a strong man deliver a block of ice for our kitchen’s refrigerator; one day going through the agony somehow making it home after losing my bus fare money on a school playground; and the pain of waving goodbye to some neighbor friends when driving away from our home for the long trip to California when I was a young lad (nicknamed Buzzy) who never believed my parents’ assurances that I would one day see my young friends again. I never did see them, not even on my Reunion visit.


But I luckily did retain a faded  photo and handwritten book of classroom memories given me by the teacher of my kindergarten class. I sometimes wonder if the teacher and nice kids in the class were as fortunate as I have been in life and turned out OK. I hope so.


To New York for Industry Public Affairs Meeting


Sept. 8-9, 1994 – To New York City


I flew to New York’s LaGuardia Airport so I could attend the Public Affairs Committee meeting of the Non-prescription Drug Manufacturers Association, upon which I serve, and also a meeting of a special task force for the national distribution of an OTC brochure. It was an hour-long cab ride from the airport to the Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza on Broadway, where I stayed.


A hotel concierge recommended that I dine at what turned out to be a very mediocre restaurant on nearby 46th Street, Barry’s Seafood, where a plate of sautéed Dover Sole was served scorched. My lunch the next day at the Hotel Intercontinental was great, a swordfish club sandwich.


My business with NDMA completed, I flew home to Memphis. An upgrade to First Class made for a better meal than that served on coach and I enjoyed visiting with Bill Craddock and Craig Weichman of Memphis on the airplane, both also returning home. I had served on the Goals for Memphis board of directors with Bill and knew Craig, a stock analyst for Morgan Keegan of Memphis, from my days as Business Editor of The Commercial Appeal.


Craig had made the news recently. A devout member of the conservative Bellevue Baptist Church, the much respected analyst voluntarily withdrew from following the old Holiday Inns stock when the parent company entered the gambling business by acquiring Harrah’s. Craig simply didn’t want to associate with gambling professionals.


To Virginia for President’s Cup, Casey’s Car Crash


Sept. 16-19, 1994 – To Manassas and Charlottesville, VA


I had purchased a pair of tickets to the inaugural edition of the President’s Cup golf match. It was staged as a premier event to be held in alternate years with the Ryder Cup between a team of United States star golfers and an International team led by the current No. 1 golfer in the world, Nick Price. The American team included greats Fred Couples, Hale Irwin, Corey Pavin and Loren Roberts.


I flew from Memphis to Dulles International Airport outside Washington, DC and drove an Avis  rental Buick to a Ramada Inn in nearby Manassas, VA on a Friday evening. On Saturday morning, I got a call from my son, Casey, who told me he had wrecked his Ford Probe auto while driving from Charlottesville, VA to meet me. He evidently fell asleep and the car went off a curve into a farming family’s rural property on U.S. 29 just south of Culpeper, VA, a small town where my mother’s family had once lived.


Thankfully, Casey had been wearing a shoulder harness seat belt and was able to walk away from the wreck, which was judged a total loss by State Farm Insurance. However, he complained about a sore shoulder and said he had been badly frightened by the accident and was afraid he would die when the car careened off a guard rail and went airborne before landing on the farmland nose-first.


I picked up Casey and we went on to the golf tournament at the classy Robert Trent Jones-designed golf club at Lake Manassas. We admired the beauty of the “penal course” – so named by the risk-reward features that carried a big penalty for miss-hit shots.


We followed team partners Loren Roberts and Corey Pavin for several holes in a four-ball match they lost. Loren was in no mood to stand still for a presentation to him I had planned with a member of his staff, involving a Thank You plaque from the Mid-South Golf Association. The association is a Memphis group my company supports that aims to introduce underprivileged youths to the character-building sport of golf. Loren, who maintains a residence in Memphis and is a locally popular figure, had designated the group to receive a share of any prize money his team won in the tournament, a sum estimated to be at least $12,500.


Casey and I watched about 4 hours of top golf and paid steep prices at the tournament concessions. Lunch of not much quality or quantity came to $17.50. We left fairly early in the day but were confronted with a terrible tie-up in traffic on the country roads coming out of the venue.


Back at the Ramada Inn, Casey passed blood in his urine. So we dropped our dinner plans and drove 2 ½ hours to the University of Virginia’s hospital at Charlottesville. Because of heavy demands in the emergency room brought on by a series of bad wrecks in the vicinity and what I thought was an overly-cautious urologist (who ordered a Cat Scan to check on Casey’s kidney), we were faced with a very long delay before Casey could get medical attention.


It resulted in a long, worrisome night for Casey, me and Betty (Casey’s anxious mother back in Memphis), whom I called every couple of hours. Finally, at 4 a.m. Casey was given a clean bill of health and we left the hospital. We had a nice breakfast and retired to the Days Inn Hotel in Charlottesville. I also paid for the unused room at the Manassas Ramada for that night.


We arose at the Days Inn about 9:30 a.m. and called a local State Farm agent to get the insurance claim in the works. I took Casey grocery shopping since he will be without wheels for a while. We visited his apartment and roommate, Will Matthews, and Casey gave me a short tour of the UVA campus. We had lunch at the university cafeteria then drove to Culpeper to take photos of the wreck site and stored wreck of his car, a red Probe I had given him as a present upon his completion of Eagle rank in the Boy Scouts a couple of years ago. His car had been a beauty he was proud to have.


Due to the rush of trying to get things back on track following a horrendous accident, Casey and I decided to pass on returning to the golf tournament. But we did make a quick visit to the great Civil War Battlefield Park at Manassas. That was where Betty and I had spent some weekend time when we were first married, back when I was in the U.S. Marines and stationed at nearby Quantico, VA, in the late 1960s.


Casey and I dined at a Red Lobster restaurant and slept at the Manassas Ramada Inn. I flew on Delta back to Memphis the next day. Casey, now without a car, recovered and returned to his Civil Engineering studies at UVA. Thanks to a fair settlement check from State Farm, Betty and I surprised him at Christmas with a present of another Ford Probe, just as bright red as the one he wrecked but with a standard engine rather than the high performance one of his previous Probe.


Playing Santa Claus with Golf Clubs at Old Waverly


Oct. 9, 1994 – To Old Waverly Golf Club, West Point, MS


I drove to Old Waverly with my golfing pal Thurman Glass, a former Memphis Publinx Tournament champion who is a line supervisor at Schering-Plough HealthCare Products, and a fellow admirer of his golf skills, Fletcher Couch. Fletcher is Director of Golf for the Memphis Park Commission, a city government agency and has known Thurman for years.


I had invited Calvin Vinson, chairman of the Mid-South Junior Golf Association, to join us for the excursion to Old Waverly. But he was a no-show at our highway meeting place and my call to him indicated that he was suffering from a cold.


Once at Old Waverly, I presented a $1,600 Schering-Plough check to Fletcher so he could use our corporate contribution to purchase golf clubs for poor kids. Mike Shannon, a very likable head pro who was leaving the club to take a bigger job at a prestige club at Orlando, FL that is the home course of notable PGA pros like Payne Stewart, presented Fletcher with 65 used golf clubs to provide them for needy kids at Memphis’ municipal courses. They ranged in condition from new to very good and had been abandoned in the Lost and Found at Old Waverly.


Similarly, I’ve found that whatever golf balls other players have lost that I happen to find are customarily “out-of-the-box” new balls with leading brand names. It seems that most golfers who pay the high prices to play Old Waverly don’t mess around with worn-out clubs or beat-up balls.


The weather was not the best, with occasional periods of misty rain. But the temperature was nice and a bit on the cool side, ideal for sweaters. I shot an 87 off the white tees. Fletcher obviously knew a whole lot more about golf course administration than playing as he shot about 100. Thurman as usual was in his own league, shooting an 80 off the championship tees.


We played another 9 holes and I shot a 47. It was a good day of golf with a couple of good guys who love the game. I had a great time and got home about 8:30 p.m.


Back To Liberty Corner for Reorganization Writing


Oct. 16-18, 1994 – To Liberty Corner, NJ


I flew from Memphis on Northwest to Newark on a 7:40 p.m. flight and arrived at the Airport Marriott at midnight. It’s a very nice hotel that has a good restaurant and a well-equipped fitness center and indoor swimming pool.


I had brought my portable Compaq laptop computer with me (which slides in and out of a desktop docking station back at my office) so I could draft a reorganization announcement with the help of Scott Schmeichel, my company’s Human Resource Director for Marketing Personnel. I met with him, my boss Senior Vice President Bob Raub and Melissa Faber, my deputy and Manager of Employee Communications, at the Schering-Plough HealthCare Products Headquarters in Liberty Corner, NJ on Monday morning.


After drafting an impending announcement about a coming realignment of Marketing staff and reporting relationships, I drove back to the Newark Airport Marriott, where I enjoyed an excellent dinner.


The next morning, I rode an exercise bike for 30 minutes in the fitness center, lifted weights on a Universal machine and then caught the 11:40 a.m. flight back to Memphis. I used my time on the airplane’s 3-hour flight to do some work on my portable Compaq computer.


To Old Waverly & Starkville with Capt. LaMar Wallis


Nov. 2-3, 1994 – To Old Waverly Golf Club, West Point & Starkville, MS


I drove to Old Waverly and nearby Mississippi State University with U.S. Navy Capt. LaMar Wallis, a pal who is Commanding Officer of the Navy’s sprawling base and air station at Millington on the northern outskirts of Memphis. I had come to know him through my support of the base’s civic activities through some of my government contacts and playing occasional rounds of golf at the Navy’s fund-raising tournaments.


LaMar was interested in setting up an internship program at Mississippi State University to benefit his base golf course. I had invited him to accompany me to a dinner of the Dean’s Advisory Board of the College of Arts & Sciences at MSU in Starkville, MS. In connection with that visit, LaMar played golf at Old Waverly with me and the university’s Luther Epting and Roland Jones. I shot an 85 and spent the night at MSU’s Butler Guest House.


It worked out that LaMar and MSU staff reached agreement on the pay and terms of providing a Golf Management student at the university to work as an intern at the Millington base during the summer. Golf interns are hotly sought at private clubs in the region. The Navy Base internship became a popular one because generous pay, use of base facilities and proximity to the city of Memphis. Unfortunately, when LaMar’s career transferred him from Millington a few years later, the program died. He waswas succeeded as Commanding Officer by women who didn’t seem to have his love of golf and the management of the base golf course was turned over to non-PGA professionals.


It was a pleasure talking to LaMar and getting to know him during the three-hour drive to and from Memphis to Starkville. Our friendship survived his transfer and we have stayed in touch ever since. He was kind to give me a “pass” of honorary membership to the recreational activities on the base, which permitted me to pay a modest “civilian VIP” fee for entitlement to play on the renovated, base golf course.


Long Day at Old Waverly, with Scores of 93 and 98


Nov. 20, 1994 – To Old Waverly Golf Club, West Point, MS


I drove to Old Waverly with golfing buddy and fellow member Curtis Downs and his friend and client Lynn Aiken. We went down U.S. Highways 78 and 45 early to make our 9:40 a.m. tee time. I shot a 93 on the first 18 holes we played then went around the course a second time, shooting a 98 off the blue tees.


To Washington to Meet with Schering-Plough’s PAC


Dec. 12-14, 1994 – To Washington, DC


I flew from Memphis to Washington’s Dulles Airport on Northwest and Delta flights routing through Atlanta and stayed in the Irish-owned Phoenix Park Hotel near Union Station. The nice hotel is only a short walk from the U.S. Senate Russell Office Building, which I visit fairly often to keep my political contacts current.


I enjoyed a delightful dinner at the University Club with host Dick Kinney, a Corporate Vice President of Schering-Plough in charge of government relations; Paul Ehrlich of Scheriing-Plough’s Washington office; Russ Elliot, Vice President of Advertising for HeatlhCare Products and a member of the Schering-Plough Better Government Fund, a political action committee (PAC); and George Marootion, a Schering-Plough attorney for the PAC. Afterwards, Russ and I repaired to the Dubliner Pub for drinks.


The next day the PAC, upon which I serve, met at Washington’s plush City Club. Dan Nichols, a PAC member and Senior Vice President for Tax of the corporation, took many verbal shots at the work of Tennessee Senator Jim Sasser, which I didn’t recognize at the time as a sign of a coming change in political atmosphere at the corporate level.


Separately, I met with Tennessee’s Members of the House of Representatives Reps. John Tanner and Don Sundquist, outgoing Senator Sasser and incoming staffers for new Sen. Fred Thompson.


Later, I had an emotion-wrenching visit to the recently opened Holocaust Museum just off the mall. Seeing the artifacts and reminders of the unspeakable cruelties visited on helpless Jews and others in Nazi concentration camps gave a me a lingering jolt. Despite the sadness that followed my visit to the museum, it was a good trip I’ll long remember.


Good Weather for Golf at Gulf Shores, New Orleans


Dec. 21-30, 1994 – To Gulf Shores, AL and New Orleans


I drove to Gulf Shores in my Ford Taurus station wagon with Betty and our son, Casey home from school for Christmas. We left Memphis at 2 p.m. It was an uneventful drive in very good weather, with temperatures climbing into the mid-60s this day and all week.


Casey and I played two rounds of golf at the State Park course. My best was a score of 91. His best was an 87.


We bicycled, walked on the winter beach and shopped for kitchen utensils and replacement furniture made necessary by a leaky roof over our condo on West Beach Blvd. We celebrated Christmas in Gulf Shores and attended a Christmas Eve service at the town’s Presbyterian Church.


We drove to New Orleans on Dec. 29 and stayed at the Sheraton Hotel on Canal that night, returning to Gulf Shores the next day. We had a great lunch at Commander’s Palace and later joined my onetime English Professor Dr. Clyde Williams of Mississippi State University and his wife, Marsha, and daughter, Rowan, for a drink.  Betty, Casey and I then poked around the French Quarter and ate dinner at the famous Acme Oyster Bar.


The next day, Casey and I played golf at City Park while Betty (fresh with some Christmas present cash from me) shopped and purchased a fancy evening gown. That afternoon, we drove back to Gulf Shores from New Orleans in the rain.


Once at Gulf Shores, I did a lot of writing on my family history account. Curtis Downs joined me and Casey for a round of golf at the State Park course.


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