I had a brutally rough day when I was 19 and a sophomore in college in a dorm.

I had a horrible tooth inflammation the night before. I had tried aspirin and beer, then more aspirin and cheap whiskey. Nothing worked. The pain throbbed and raged, and would not stop. 

I got perhaps two hours’ sleep. I crawled out of bed and looked into the mirror at my tooth. I poked at the inflamed gum and cut it with a razor blade to alleviate the misery. I would have tried anything.

At 11:00, it was lunch time in the cafeteria. I could not chew the cornbread and hominy. We decided to head for the uptown package liquor store.

We went out into the windy, icy day. My car had a flat tire. I resisted changing it, but the liquor store lure was strong. 

We went back inside to warm up. I looked into the mirror, my eyes watered, and my gums were violently red. It was almost noon. I could not imagine how things could get worse. 

About then, Phil Riley from next door, in his penguin-like black suit and tie, came to the door. With his Peter Lorre voice, he told us the news, the terrible news from Dallas. 

On that fateful day, November 22, 1963.

Paul McCreary, Green Valley