Sunday, August 14, 2022



If you live in Memphis, you would have to live under a rock somewhere to not know about Geoff Calkins. He has been a part of Memphis for well over 20 years. Geoff is a sports journalist, but there is so much more. He writes human interest stories like no one else can. He gets to the nitty gritty - the love - the heart of the matter; whether it is about his own parents, his adorable Bernese Mountain dogs, or special unknown facts about Memphis athletes.

Geoff Calkins was born the 8th child of 9 children to Evan and Virginia Calkins. They also had 30 grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren. Both were physicians and were amazing in their own rights. Evan, his father, lived until 99 1/2 years of age. He stopped seeing patients at age 93. This is a picture of Evan Calkins sailing at age 98. 

Also, at age 98 and his Mom, Virginia, at age 94 went to Disney and apparently loved it. Who wouldn't? They were so special to each other and took care of one another through their 73 years of marriage. Evan brought her coffee each morning and had a system where she could wake him if she needed to in the middle of the night. He was more physically able to get around than his wife. It was one tragic night that he went down the stairs and fell which caused his death. Somehow Virginia did manage to get help when he did not come back. 

Let's think about this for a moment. How many women in her day and age went on to be physicians and raise 9 children? That is one very amazing woman. At age 96, after being vaccinated what did she want to do? Well, go to Disney of course. So off they went one more time. When Geoff wrote about his parents it was an inspirational memorial to both of them. Beautiful to read. His parents were full of Grit & Grind and this was most definitely passed on to Geoff.

He worked for The Commercial Appeal and went on to The Daily Memphian. Geoff won the Best Sports Columnist in the US from the AP. Also, he has a radio show. I would say that he made the right decision after graduating magna cum laude from Harvard and then Harvard Law School and practicing law for three years to move on to his love of writing. He does have a book out called After the Jump, which does delve into more of his sports journalism.

On a personal note, he has three sons and also beautiful Bernese Mountain dogs and focuses on the positive energy of Memphis. 

Even when talking about the heat of Memphis summers. Gotta love it!

He wrote about Sidney, an off-spring of one of his own pups and how Sidney was never trained to be a therapy dog, however...Sidney went to work with his owners and calmed everyone daily at Crosstown. When it became time for Sidney to cross the rainbow bridge his owners made sure that he was not in pain and that he saw only their smile. He got a slurp of whipped cream and went on to a pain-free life. After a while they did get Mimsy, another Bernese Mt. dog. She is not quite ready to take over Sidney's job...maybe soon. They love her just the same.

Even with the FedEx-St.Jude Golf Classic going on he found a way of helping others let go of the LIV golfers who deserted the PGA for the money of Saudi. Then all of a sudden some of them wanted a judge to rule in their favor to let them play in Memphis. my opinion you can't have your cake and eat it too. As Geoff wrote FedEx-St.Jude is so much more. It is not about the money. It is about saving lives. Geoff wrote about how each year a child is chosen to have their name painted on a FedEx Purple Eagle jet. This year it is Riley. How special is that?

Another Memphis story related to FedEx Tournament was all about Will Drennan. He had volunteered at FedEx as a standard bearer for a number of years. From all that speak of him, he was just a good guy all around. He coached flag football and a torrential downpour came along at one of the practices and there was a gully-washer. He saw a child near the water. He quickly jumped in to try to save the child, as did the child's father. They made it out but Will did not make it. He was a hero larger than life. Saturday and Sunday, the volunteers at the Tournament had a purple heart for each volunteer to wear to honor him. Will's own son does not have a Dad now. His son, Hayden may have lost his Dad but all of his friends say that they will be there to help care for Hayden and that now he will have 12 - 15 uncles to help take charge. They will never let him forget that his Dad was a HERO. FedEx volunteers are so very special. Many taking vacation days just to work there. It takes so many. When I watch the Tournament, I must say that when I moved here, I was very lucky to be asked by a neighbor who knew my interest in golf to be one of the volunteers who walk with a team of golfers to keep their score and talk into the booth about what is happening out on the course. It was a nerve-racking volunteer job but one I cherished. Even when the golfers, their caddies and I walked into the trailer to announce our scores. I could breathe after my scores matched theirs. Then I would receive an autographed golf ball...or my FedEx visor signed. How special it is to be a volunteer for such a miraculous tournament. Like no other! 

Another story that does have a FedEx glow to it. Mike Glenn had worked for 35 years at FedEx. He was an EVP and was brilliant at marketing. He had 3 children. His wife, Donna and Mike had their first child on Christmas and the nurses put the newborns in a stocking. It was not long after that when they learned about the life facing this precious child. They worked their way through it for many years and went on to have two more children. It was now a time in his life that he had to make a tough decision. He knew what needed to be done and after talking it through with Fred Smith, the outcome was announced. He needed to be at home helping to care for his child. He was there when he could be while working but felt it was all on his wife. Their daughter was getting stronger and harder to control when she went into uncontrollable seizures. Afterwards she would apologize for what she could not control. He continued to take her out and always had a bag with him to help restrain her when needed. He knew that he was needed to be able to focus on his family. As it all turned out, the name of her disease was discovered and it was not something that he and his wife could change and she needed to be placed in a home nearby for her safety. They are able to go and see her a few times a week. Sometimes, even taking her out for a meal. And, they are there for their other two children.

Mike Glenn was a part of getting the Grizzlies here to Memphis. The stories that Geoff writes go on and on. I would like to end with a touching story. If you were one who did not follow the Grizzlies in the NBA playoffs then you missed the way the team came together. Part of it was due to Ja Morant. He was a HUGE motivator. His smile was infectious. His style was unmistakable, both on the court and off. His daughter was always a big part of his life. Someone snapped a picture of him holding her with all the love that a father could share with his child. A local artist saw this picture and started sketching it. Somehow it got on Twitter and Ja saw it. He absolutely wanted this picture in the worse way. Matt Terhune was the local artist who sketched it. It should be titled, "LOVE."

I believe that just like my last blog, Love Actually, Love Is All You Need. That is why Geoff writes the way he does.

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