Friday, June 30, 2006


It is with sadness that I reflect upon the fact that, three years ago today, I lost a dear friend and one of my very favorite people on this earth, Samuel Alfred Day. It is unbelievable to me that Sam has been gone for three years now; he certainly left a legacy that will continue to endure long, long after his untimely passing.

Sam was, without question, one of the most energetic, caring and unique people ever. He was a lawyer, a former high school teacher and principal, a wonderful family man, and a trusted friend. I cannot think of Sam without remembering his beaming smile and his hearty laugh. Sam loved life, and he loved to interact with other people. I know, from our many heartfelt conversations, that he genuinely cared about others with a passion that I have not seen matched by many. He felt things deeply, and he was not ashamed to share those feelings.

Sam was like a magnet for other people. His warmth and outgoing nature were obvious to those just meeting him for the first time. He could have been a dynamite salesman--selling literally ANYTHING--because people immediately liked him and were drawn to him. That was one of his greatest assets as a trial lawyer. He was genuine and inherently believable. When he stood before a jury, he did so with supreme confidence. I think that his confidence was borne both of the innumerable hours that he spent preparing and his natural rapport with people. He could relate to just about anyone, and he knew it.

I was delighted to read in the Courier Journal last week that Sam's son, along with a partner, was recently honored in Beverly Hills, California with a college student Academy Award for the production of a film. Spike Lee won the same award as a college student. I felt an immense sense of pride for my old friend's son, but I realize that my pride is just a drop in the bucket of the ocean that Sam would be feeling now if he were here. Anyone who spent any time at all with Sam quickly realized that his wife and his children were his life. He had many diverse interests, but his family always came first. On many occasions, when telling me about some development that had recently happened with one of his three children, his eyes would become misty with pride, concern, or empathetic sorrow.

Sam Day taught me many things during our years of friendship, and I still think about him every day. I suppose that I always will. When I think about him, I will continue to remember that smile, that laugh, and that warmth. Sam's time in this life was far too short, but he continues to live on in the hearts and minds of many.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Mindful Walking--It's Not Just for Breakfast Anymore!

I am a runner. At least, I have considered myself to be a runner for quite a few years now. Ever since I was in high school, I've gone through the rutual: stretching my reluctant leg muscles, getting mentally psyched with an appropriate upbeat tune,lacing up my running shoes, and hitting the road. To me, a good run has always seemed like a kind of manna from heaven--a world of therapy to which I am able to go to escape the cares of the day, and to experience a blessed union of body and mind.

When I was in law school, it seemed that running was the only effective way to clear my head, and to enable me to endure the long hours of studying that were required. While I was sitting in the law library studying tomes of constitutional law or contracts, I would imagine myself gliding across the fields and roadways, always looking forward to that point in the day when there would be no worries or thoughts about final exams.

When I became a young lawyer, I again found running to be my secret sanctuary. Stress, anxiety, and cares all seemed to magically flow from the sinews of my body as I logged mile after mile in the fresh Floyd County air. Running empowered me, gave me self confidence, and made me feel vibrant and refreshed.

I've always been certain that vigorous running, combined with a regular regimen of weight training, was the way to keep my body in the best possible shape. It has been my personal conviction that running was a key to the fountain of youth, and that it was a secret weapon in my personal war against aging. That idea sustained me for a long time, and a commitment to running has seemingly been with me through thick and thin.

It is thus with some regret that I have now begun to question whether running is going to be an activity that I can continue to do for the long haul. Mind you, I am not completely abandoning running now. I am beginning to think, however, that hiking and brisk walking might become my new version of manna from heaven.

I will turn 45 this year. If I am honest with myself, I must admit that I began having doubts about running seven or eight years ago. Unnatural pains began developing in my knees, shins and back after especially long runs. Whereas I used to relish getting out in the hills of Floyds Knobs for a challenging five or six mile run in the evenings, I discovered that I was now wracked with pain after such an effort. Whereas I used to enjoy running every day, I found the pains in my calves and hips persuading me to switch to an every-other-day running routine. Eventually, I found myself running less and less.

Not long ago, I decided to go all-out to reestablish my running regimen. I vowed that I would run every day, proclaiming that my body would just have to get used to the challenge again. Unfortunately, my resolve was soon weakened by the relentless complaining of my back and hips. Alas, I dicovered that I am not 25 anymore! Long runs no longer made me feel renewed and refreshed.

Fortunately, in addition to my running, I have always enjoyed walking and hiking. Until recently, though, I never viewed them as true forms of exercise. I viewed walking and hiking as leisure activities, things that I enjoyed doing on days when I was taking a break from running. My thinking has now changed.

When I began walking as a primary source of exercise, I frankly was a bit embarrassed. Walking, it seemed, did not quite suit the macho personna that I had strived to cultivate. I thought that, if people saw me walking, they might view me as less vigorous, less manly, than I used to be. To my delight, I've now discovered that I could care less about what what anyone else might think about it. I know that I must do what feels right to me, and walking feels right indeed.

I love walking! I have discovered that I am able to walk briskly for several miles without pain or discomfort. I can do it every day. What's more, I find that I am able to commune with nature while walking in a way that was not possible when I was running. As I feel my heart pumping and my leg muscles churning, I am able to appreciate the beauty of trees and flowers. I am able to observe birds in flight, and to actually listen to their songs. I am able to see the sun reflecting off of the Ohio River, to feel its warmth upon my face, and once again, I feel refreshed and empowered.

I've been a runner virtually all of my life. Now, happily, I am a walker too.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


Those of you who know me--who TRULY know me--understand that my kids are my raison d'etre--the primary reason for which I feel that I was placed on this earth. There will never be anything more important to me than they are. To the extent that I am aware, there is no accomplishment, no disappointment, and no anxiety of theirs in which I do not personally share. Accordingly, I view it as my sacred right and privilege to share with you, my friends and fledgling readers, the important milestones that are taking place within their lives.

In time, I am certain that I will be sharing tales and guffaws about all four of my diverse and active offspring. For now, I will begin with some rather extraordinary goings-on in the life of my third in line, Brendan.

Ah, youth! Imagine a world of limitless possibilities. Imagine being 17 years old, with your future shining brightly ahead of you, and that you are completely unfettered and free to follow any road down which your dreams may lead you. Imagine also that you are facing a glorious summer of opportunity, where you will be given the chance to travel to venues around the country, to expand your horizons and explore the possibilities.

To me, all of this sounds like a wonderful, fantastic dream--one about turning back the clock, in which I might engage after enjoying one too many Tunnel Visions at Richo's Public House. To my son, it is reality. He has embarked upon a golden summer of opportunity and adventure that is noteworthy indeed. Though I have told many of you about his summer plans, others are still unaware. Because it is an interesting story, and also because I know that many of you know and care about him, I wanted to bring you up to date.

Having just finished his junior year of high school this year, young Squire Brendan decided to make the most of his summer by exploring some options that might be available to him after graduation. He also wanted to try doing something different than his usual summer life, which has been consumed with baseball in recent years.

Brendan, or the "Hunt-Man" as I frequently refer to him, has been considering the possiblity of attending college at one of our nation's military academies--particularly either the U.S Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, or the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. He learned that both academies host summer session programs, designed to allow serious prospective recruits to spend a week on campus and get a feel for the place. He decided that he wanted to be a part of that.

The academy summer sessions are highly coveted, and the entry process is very competetive. Brendan applied for both the Air Force Academy and the Naval Academy, hoping that at least one of them might accept him. To his surprise and satisfaction, he was accepted by both. Game on!

Brendan spent last week at the Naval Academy. It was the first time he had ever been so far away from home by himself, and it was quite an experience for him. Each morning, he had to arise at 5:45 for physical training and testing. Meals were completed in a maximum of 15 minutes. The days were filled with academic workshops, sporting events, military drill introduction, and other special tours and events. Lights were out at 11:00 each evening. Brendan had a great week and, perhaps not surprisingly, he seemed a bit more mature to me upon his arrival home.

This week, the Hunt-Man is at Hoosier Boys State in Terre Haute, Indiana. For those who may not know, Boys State is a wonderful program, conducted at Indiana State University, that is designed to teach potential young leaders about the operation of our Democratic form of government and the organization of our political parties. It is quite an honor to be chosen to attend. I should know. I badly wanted to be chosen as a delegate to attend Hoosier Boys State when I was 17, but I only made it to the status of being an alternate to the program. I guess you might say that I am vicariously enjoying the experience now. By all accounts, a good time is being had by all in Terre Haute this week.

Next week, Brendan will attend the summer session for the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. This is apparently also a very serious program--with "no sandals" allowed at any time--and he is very enthused about the opportunity to attend. It will be interesting to hear his perceptions of the Air Force Academy, as compared with those of the Naval Academy. I feel certain that he will fare well there. As for me, I'm not entirely sure whether I could handle the no sandals aspect. It is summertime, isn't it? Quite obviously, I am not a military man.

Once he returns from Colorado, Brendan will be here for only a short while before he embarks upon a church mission trip to New Orleans. There will be no time for fun and frivolity on Bourbon Street (which, by the way, was the order of the day the last time I was in New Orleans). Rather, this will be an effort to assist those still trying to recover from the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina. There is apparently still much devastation and need in that area, although we don't hear much about it anymore here these days. I think that it will be an extremely gratifying experience for him to earn the feeling that he is helping others who are truly in need.

Upon returning from New Orleans, my son will, at last, be able to relax and begin summer conditioning for his senior season of high school soccer. There's no running or physical exertion required in that sport, is there?

As you may have discerned, I am very happy that my son has an exciting, rewarding summer on tap this year. I am thankful for the opportunities that he has, and I hope that this turns out to be a magical season that he will look upon fondly for the rest of his life. As Father's Day approaches, I could have no greater wish than that.

I do not know whether Brendan will ultimately choose to attend one of our nation's service academies. I do hope, however, that in the process of exploring this summer he learns much about the world in which we live. I hope that he earns a sense of self confidence, self-awareness, and that he learns to care more deeply about other people. If he does, then it will be time well spent indeed.

Sunday, June 11, 2006


Hello again, friends. There's been an interesting discussion taking place lately on the NA Confidential blog regarding the philosophies associated with the two major political parties. Dyed in-the-wool Democrats, it seems, are disillusioned about the fact that some local elected officials carrying the party banner are not living up to the high ideals which they believe membership in the party to represent. "True" Democrats, they suggest, inherently pursue the common good, a la Thomas Jefferson. Republican enthusiasts, on the other hand, argue that it is the party of Lincoln which occupies the high moral ground in the political landscape, and that they are the ones who truly have the public welfare in mind. Who is right?

I believe that the answer to this question lies somewhere between the two extremes. The problem with this debate, as I see it, is largely a matter of context and semantics. The two major political parties are so pervasive that we are all bound to have had numerous personal experiences with them that shape our view of each party as a whole. Some of us were raised to believe that the Democratic Party is superior, in that its members are generally selfless individuals who care about nothing more than the common weal. Others of us, raised in Republican homes, have been taught that the Republican vision is one that cherishes personal freedom, responsibility, independence and industry.

Depending upon the personal experiences that we each have had, we begin to believe that one party or the other is truly more concerned with the welfare of the citizenry. As it turns out, both versions of the story have been somewhat romanticized.

The truth is that, particularly on the local level, there are genuine, caring individuals who belong to both parties. Unfortunately, there are also miscreants in each who are out for personal glorification and gain. It is especially disheartening to us when we find that a member of the party with which we personally identify is, in fact, one of the aforementioned miscreants.

ELEVATION OF FORM OVER SUBSTANCE: I don't mean to suggest that there are no general philosophical differences between the two parties. Clearly, there are. Especially on the local level, however, those differences are usually not germane to the task at hand. Too much importance, I submit, is placed upon labels. We frequently allow form to be elevated over substance. Office holders are given a safety net, and are too often able to maintain a level of comfort and complacency by virtue of their political affiliation alone.

I must admit that I have become skeptical about a process that seems to require unwavering support from our candidates for one platform or the other. The major parties have become too large, too powerful, and too money-driven. I am much more concerned with with the ideas and ideals that a candidate represents than his or her political affiliation. In this vein, I think that it is rather unfortunate that the two major parties maintain such a stranglehold over the political process. Could it be that someone from a third party--or perhaps no party at all--might have the best ideas?

Some may find it surprising that I am taking this stance, since I was, for some years, a member of the central committee of one of the two major parties in Floyd County. That was a very rewarding experience, and in no way do I intend for my current comments to be seen as a sign of disrespect or contempt for those with whom I worked while in that capacity. To the contrary, I found the overwhelming majority of candidates and party members to be genuinely caring, concerned individuals who were primarily seeking the betterment of the community. I have discovered, however, that my sense of self will not allow me to be limited to one political dogma. I no longer believe that there is such a thing as an "ideal" Democrat or Republican.

Ideas. Enthusiasm. Openness. Fairness. Commitment to constitutional principles. These are the things that really matter.

Thursday, June 08, 2006


Greetings! Please allow me to welcome you to my CoffeeSpoons blog site. I am pleased that you stopped by, although I must admit that, at this point, I am fairly uncertain as to the frequency with which I may be posting, and also as to the specific goals and focus of this particular site. Please allow me to explain.

Blogs are a rather new thing for me. Some months ago--indeed, perhaps a year or more ago--I began to hear some rumblings about the NA Confidential blog site that was being operated by my old college chum, Roger Baylor. These rumblings caused me great interest because, although I admittedly did not know Roger well, I had found him to be a unique and thoroughly entertaining fellow during our brief association long ago. I had also, over the years, had occasion to read some of Roger's letters to the New Albany Tribune (affectionately referred to as "The 'Bune" at that time), and found myself frequently captivated by his topics, and often howling with laughter at his tongue-in-cheek writing style. When I learned that Roger was operating a blog, I knew that I had to check it out.

Shortly after logging onto the NA Confidential site for the first time, I was hooked. Having worked in an office in downtown New Albany for some 19 years now, I found myself silently chanting "amen" to the site's calls for downtown revitalization and growth. I was again amused and amazed at Roger's gift for making a point. I also quickly realized that there were other very significant contributors to the NA Confidential blog, and that they were engaged in a thoughtful dialogue designed to enhance the quality of life in our fair community. In short, I wanted to join in.

After I began reading the NA Confidential blog with some regularity, I realized that I wanted to participate by making occasional comments and responses myself. I was aware, however, that the site does not allow anonymous comments, and requires those wishing to comment to register with I then began to think that it might be fun for me to operate a blog site of my own. As a result, here I am.

Initially, I viewed the primary purpose of this blog as allowing me to be able to comment , from time to time, on the NAC blog. I now think it is entirely possible that I will want to continue writing about various subjects, sharing my personal musings with you here. I envision an eclectic mixture of topics, including law, sports, hiking, entertainment, etc. We shall see.

ABOUT THE TITLE: Please do not allow the title to fool you; this blog site will not usually have anything to do with the delicious beverage known to some as "java." Rather, the title comes from my favorite poem: The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, by T.S. Eliot. In that poem, the protagonist laments that he has "measured out my life with coffee spoons." This powerful, thought-provoking line has always caused me to examine my own life, and to try to look at the big picture rather than sectioning life into small increments. Whenever I post on this blog, I will do so with an eye toward engaging in a full measure of life. T.S. wouldn't want it any other way.

ABOUT ME: I don't intend to reveal all about myself at this point, but I do think that a few basics are in order. My name is Matthew Jones, and I was born in Louisville, Kentucky in 1961. I lived in rural Floyd County until I was 11 years old, when my parents moved to Clarksville. I graduated from Clarksville High School in 1980. From there, I went to IU Southeast, where I received a B.A. in English in 1984. I then went to the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law, and received my Juris Doctor (law) degree in 1987. I've been practicing law in New Albany ever since--and I'm just as pleased as punch to be doing so.

I will reveal additional details about myself as I feel they are warranted. For now, as you have stumbled (or been directed by me) to this site, I hope that you will continue to join me frequently. It should be fun. Stay tuned.