As I prepared last week for this column, I spent way too much time searching for magical answers. On Friday morning, the realization finally hit me: “There are no magical answers!”

For well over a week I debated should I write again about the Duke Energy rate increase, or maybe the great 2020 presidential election fiasco, or maybe the Sheriff Boone story (remember innocent until PROVEN guilty), or the myriad of other stories in the news.

While researching for most of these topics, I discovered many unknown facts. At least they were unknown to me, and the possibility to expose those “facts” seemed compelling.

Did you realize Duke Energy wants to increase the basic cost to have a meter on your house by about 33 percent?

Maybe you were unaware that reportedly 683 citizens have filed with the Federal Election Commission to run for president in 2020, and that number includes approximately 20 current office holders. The totally political speeches by these candidates dominate the news cycle, but the question the media usually fail to ask is what action have you taken to propose the changes you now proclaim.

So, Bernie, with almost 30 years in Congress, what bill have you submitted concerning Medicare for all? Joe, with 37 years in the Senate plus eight as vice president, please list all of the legislation you prepared and submitted during your tenure in office. I am confident that will match your now-proclaimed political priorities designed to get votes.

Elizabeth, you want free college education for all, but have you reimbursed the college you lied to in order to gain an admittance advantage? Have you identified the person who did not get admitted because of your false claim and repaid him or her for the potential loss?

For all of those candidates who currently hold federal office and now shout about eliminating ICE, would you show us a copy of the bill you have submitted to make that elimination occur?

As I suspect, all of those speeches and demands for change are nothing but political fodder designed to get attention and hopefully votes and, in fact, have nothing to do with actions you would take if elected. If they were real priorities, you would have taken action already!

Already I have spent way too much on these relatively mundane and unimportant happenings of the past week. The reality of the past week was the important events that made my week great. It all began on Easter Sunday when my wife and I took a dear friend, who lives here with no family close by, to church with us. Following the church service, we returned, with her, to our home to prepare for an Easter luncheon with about 18 friends and family. Gathering with all of those wonderful folks to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord was a perfect start to the week. Nothing can surpass spending time with friends and family. Certainly, the food was wonderful, but more important, the time spent being with friends and family is what makes the day.

Much of the rest of the week was spent preparing for the Taste of the Symphony event on Thursday. Actually, that is not a totally accurate statement. The time that was spent was actually by my wife. As usual, I was a mostly silent bystander. The Taste of the Symphony is an annual event that we have greatly enjoyed during our relatively short time living in Florence. This event, which is put on every April by the Florence Symphony Guild, raises money to support not only the Florence Symphony Orchestra but also the youth symphony orchestra, and as of this year an annual scholarship for two Frances Marion University students who are majoring in music.

The ladies of the guild spent months coordinating the event. Ladies donate hundreds of hours decorating the venue. Chefs from throughout the area donate their time and expertise, and they donate the food tastings. Most important, they serve that food to attendees with a smile and make the event so much more enjoyable.

Thanks, not only to the ladies of the guild but also to the chefs who add so much to the event.

Lastly, but certainly not least, I want to thank the Florence police officer who was assigned to control traffic at the front gate. He went out of his way to contribute to the event as it was closing down. My wife and I were dismantling and saving some of the decorations at the front gate. That officer, and I am embarrassed to say I failed to get his name or badge number, went out of his way to assist. He came over with his flashlight and provided the much-needed help. Protect and serve? He did both. Great job, officer!

On reflection, the week in fact was fantastic. I need to remember not to focus on the negatives but to look for the positives and highlight those. Thursday was great not only because of the Taste of the Symphony and the help by the police officer but also as the birthday of our youngest son, Matt.

WOW, what a wonderful week, and I look forward to more of those wonderful weeks ahead.

Remember, be positive!

Citizen Columnist Thomas J. Sheehy retired from the U.S. Army following 26 years on active duty. He and his wife of 47 years moved to Florence in 2009. They have two sons and four wonderful grandchildren. Contact Sheehy at