Jared Felkins' Column: On anniversaries, softball and cheesy ninjas

Bryley Felkins, also known as Colby Jack Ninja, is a force to be reckoned with in any world, imaginary or otherwise. Her friend, Jerry, is also pictured (but your guess is a good as mine as to where.)
Apr 26, 2013
 Photo: Photo courtesy of Mary Felkins

Bryley Felkins, also known as Colby Jack Ninja, is a force to be reckoned with in any world, imaginary or otherwise. Her friend, Jerry, is also pictured (but your guess is a good as mine as to where.)

“Forgive me my nonsense, as I also forgive the nonsense of those that think they talk sense.”              
— Robert Frost

Today marks my eight-month anniversary of working at The Democrat. In that time, I’ve seen several triumphs, a few pitfalls, but mostly my time here has been enjoyable.

In what I perceive as a short time, we’ve witnessed several changes to the newspaper, and – spoiler alert – more are coming soon, including a new website in the next couple of months. There will be more about that as time draws nearer, but we have already seen what’s to come and can’t wait to unveil it to our readers.

The new website will only compliment an already revamped and redesigned print newspaper, an all-new E-edition and expanded connections on social networks that make it easier to keep up with news, sports and things going on in Wilson County.

I think of all the events that have defined my time here thus far, I treasure the relationships I’ve made the most. Wilson County people are special, the area is amazing and those things have made our transition to Tennessee unforgettable. My family and I are truly blessed.


About two months ago, my wonderful wife, Mary, and I made the decision to coach Lebanon Girls Softball Association teams to foster new relationships and contribute to our new community in some small way.

I say teams in the plural form because we were committed to lead a 10-and-under team with our middle daughter, Bailey, until our youngest daughter, Bryley, became interested in the sport. At 5, she was placed on a pee-wee team, and Mary became her coach.

Mary has been at my side for the past three years, including an all-star team, coaching in Alabama. So she jumped at the challenge to coach the 4-5-year-olds.

But even the best coach out there would have trouble getting this younger group all going in the right direction. I was appointed assistant coach by proxy.

I thought the challenge would be batting and fielding, but the biggest thing has been keeping the girls’ attention on the game and away from playing in the dirt. Things as simple as keeping gloves on hands and just the right time to call a bathroom break have a way of putting things in proper perspective.

I think I have a pretty good idea now what it means to have the patience of Job.

As for the 10-and-under team, well we’re off to a rocky 0-2 start following two close games. But we’re due to peak, and I think it’s coming next week. Then again, maybe my newfound patience knows no boundaries.


It seems these days when I’m not working or coaching softball, I’m asleep. So spending time at home with family has become cherished time.

A few nights ago while I was working late, I got a Facetime call, and as soon as the image loaded, I hear Bryley give me a big, “haaaaa-ya” and a karate chop.

Mary quickly informed me Bryley had become a ninja, complete with black outfit and headband.

I know it may come as a surprise, but it’s nothing new when it comes to my youngest and most imaginative child.

This latest persona only adds to a laundry list of unique characters she’s invented. One friend who keeps making the most frequent reoccurrence is Jerry.

Best we can gather, Jerry is a minion like those loveable yellow guys in the movie, “Despicable Me.” We have also determined Jerry has a little sister, a mom and works at McDonald’s. Oh, he also drives a motorcycle.

Like the ninja, we often encourage her imagination by nicknaming Bryley after some of her more memorable moments. One of those includes her recent newfound love for Colby Jack cheese.

“It’s just the best cheese, ever,” she said after Mary brought some home from the grocery store the other day.

Much to my surprise, Colby Jack Ninja met me with a startle dressed in all black at the front door later that night.

Startle is a bit of an understatement, because I nearly jumped out of my skin when she jumped from behind the door as I arrived to what I thought was a dark, quiet house.

Bryley and her mom just laughed and laughed.

One more thing you have to know about Jerry is that he’s a bit of a partier, which also seems to keep Bryley up most nights.

Exhausted in the wee hours of the next morning, I finally got her to succumb to sleep, but not before I got one more giggle out of Bryley with the new nickname, Pepper Jack Samurai.

Yeah it’s strange, but such is the Felkins family. Maybe we all could use a good night’s sleep.

Jared Felkins is The Democrat’s director of content. Email him at jfelkins@lebanondemocrat.com and follow him on Twitter @paperboyfelkins.


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