February 25, 2013

Points East: My biggest regret

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — If you had your life to live over, what would you do differently?  

Frankly, with one exception, the few things that I would change are too personal to talk about in a public forum and they’re really nobody else’s business anyway.   

And if I went back and made major changes, say in the type of education or where I attended college, for example, they might have resulted in an entirely different life than the one I’ve lived.

The bottom line is that I’m pretty happy with the way things have turned out.  I love my family and my circle of friends and I love living in Paint Lick, Ky.  I love what I do and I’m fairly content with what I’ve accomplished over the last 64 years.

I’m proud of my kids and grandkids and I can’t imagine having a life-sharing  partner more wonderful than Loretta. I would not go back and make a single change that would ultimately make the family and friends aspects of my life turn out differently.  

But, by far, the biggest regret that I’m willing to talk about is smoking.  I wish, with all my heart, that I’d never seen or touched a cigarette or briar pipe. I would be lying, big time, if I told you I have not taken great pleasure from smoking, especially my pipes, over the decades.

Even though I haven’t smoked a pipe in nearly three years,  I still consider myself a connoisseur of blended pipe tobacco from around the world and few things, made of wood, have more appeal to my eyes and hands than a hand carved and perfectly engineered Mediterranean Briar pipe.   Nothing smells better to me than the aroma of fine pipe tobacco.

But if I had it to do over, I would have never touched a pipe and never lit that first cigarette.  I’m reasonably convinced I would not have suffered the stroke that has left me somewhat crippled for nearly a year now.  I’m sure I would have far more stamina and I would feel better.  I don’t even want to think about all the money I would have had I stuck it into a savings account instead of blowing it on tobacco and its related products over the years.

People who do not have ultra-addictive personalities do not understand those of us who do.  I know at least a hundred people who have quit smoking over the years and some of them had mighty struggles with the process.  Many, if not most, of them are of the opinion that if they can do it, anyone can.  

But even after my stroke, I cheated and on those days when I didn’t smoke, I wanted a cigarette so badly I could hardly think of anything else.

Over the last 25 years I have tried numerous patches, pills and gum.  I’ve completed two of those highly-touted 16 week cessation programs.  I’ve tried hypnosis several times and I’ve fallen for several television and Internet promoted scams.  I’ve had a stroke, for crying out loud, and I still wanted a cigarette.

Last fall, someone suggested I try an e-cigarette.  It’s a battery operated device that delivers a vapor instead of smoke.  It feels and tastes a lot like a regular cigarette but without all the smoke and tars and thousands of chemical impurities you get from real smoke.  In other words, it’s a much cleaner and less aggravating way of getting a nicotine fix than real tobacco.   And unless somebody is sitting right beside you, they never smell a thing.

This writing makes 90 days since I’ve touched a match or lighter to a cigarette.  I promise you, faithfully, that I haven’t even wanted one, but I have panicked a time or two when I couldn’t find my White Cloud Fling.  

I have no idea if it’s safer, because I’m still getting nicotine.  But I can tell you I feel and breathe better than I have in decades and I can’t imagine going back to real smoke.  

I tried 11 different brands and styles before settling on White Cloud disposables, which I find to be the most reliable, realistic and economical e-cigarettes on the market and, by far, the most truthfully advertised.  Simply do an Internet search for

However, if you’ve quit smoking, do not do this or use it as an excuse to start back.  If you’ve never smoked a cigarette, this is not a healthy alternative.  

Read everything you can find on the pros and cons of electronic cigarettes before you even try one, and then make up your mind.  There’s a ton of mostly conflicting, information on the Internet, and even health professionals hold widely varying opinions.

It may turn out that I’m still killing myself just as rapidly as I would be with the real thing, or maybe even faster.  But at least Loretta is not yelling at me for stinking up the atmosphere.

Text Only
  • mitch.jpg On The Rebound: An almost completely true fish tale

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • denis.jpg Direct Kick: Did Lana cross the line with her remark?

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • mitch.jpg On The Rebound: All Star Game less important than Wiffle Ball

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • denis.jpg Direct Kick: A very eventful week in sports

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • The shining kingdom

    The drop in gas prices locally is a welcome sight for most residents in the area with gas falling under $3.60 per gallon.

    July 16, 2014

  • Letter to the editor: Thanks, Sentinel-Echo

    In the July 4 edition of the Sentinel-Echo, (last page, section 1), the entire page was given to quotes of references to God, the Declaration of Independence, and our constitution by our founding fathers, former presidents, Supreme Court judges, etc. 

    July 14, 2014

  • Zamperini's story was inspiring

    I had never heard the names of Louis Zamperini and Russel Allen Phillips until my pastor gave me a book, “Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption,” by author Laura Hillenbrand, who wrote, “Seabiscuit: An American Legend” a few years ago.

    July 11, 2014

  • The tales of Dr. Robert E. Pennington

    When Dr. H. V. Pennington began to practice medicine in Laurel County times were hard and medical methods were primitive, compared to today. 

    July 11, 2014

  • Where did that red truck go?

     We were sitting out on the front porch last Saturday afternoon when a  big, red, late- model pick up whizzed by on Charlie Brown.  It looked like there was a man driving and a woman riding shotgun  

    July 7, 2014

  • A change for Pace

    Let me tell you a little about my friend Candice Pace. We were sitting in the fountain square the other day and she was telling me about how she had driven to Pikeville, where she’s from, to visit with her mom. Along the way, deep in McCreary County, she passed three turtles that were crossing the road.Let me tell you a little about my friend Candice Pace. We were sitting in the fountain square the other day and she was telling me about how she had driven to Pikeville, where she’s from, to visit with her mom. Along the way, deep in McCreary County, she passed three turtles that were crossing the road.

    July 7, 2014

AP Video
Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide

Now that school is out, what are your family’s summer vacation plans?

A. No major plans. We will probably hang out around Laurel County.
B. Going to the beach!
C. Kentucky has a lot of wonderful state parks, and we plan to visit a few and enjoy quality family time.
     View Results