Sherry Kughn: There will be no live fish or live chickens!
This is the first in a series of columns I’ll be writing for Consolidated Publishing Company’s weekly newspapers. The columns, similar to the ones I wrote for The Oxford Sun for about 16 months, will appear on the editorial page.

Most of the 60 or so columns I wrote were not exactly editorials, which, as all students of journalism know, are columns written to persuade, praise, interpret, explain, criticize or motivate readers to action. My columns were written more for the purpose of engaging readers and allowing them to feel a part of a community. Likely, my new series will be written with a similar purpose to a wider audience.

However, I am sure I will accidentally editorialize every once in a while.

My former columns were musings on my experiences as I traveled around and about in Oxford digging up stories and taking photographs. However, with this new venture, I wanted a column name. Therefore, I asked one of Consolidated Publishing’s editors, Bill Edwards, to help me think of one. He concentrated for a few seconds, grabbed a pencil and scribbled down “Sherry-go-round,” a title I loved at once. Until that moment I had not realized that my life, dizzying as it is, often feels like a merry-go-round, so why not stretch the idea a bit to “Sherry-go-round.”

In keeping with that idea, my life’s newest adventure involves inviting someone to live in my home for a short while. Imagine my “dizzying” expression when this person asked me if I knew where to buy a live fish and a live chicken to eat.

“No,” I said, “and even if I did, the grocery store’s fish and chicken are fresh enough.”

Let me back up a bit to explain.

About two months ago, I entertained the idea of hosting an international student for The Donoho School. I attended a meeting in which several parents already had students assigned to them. So, the program’s local contact, Jennifer Tucker, asked me to consider being a respite caregiver to one of the ninth graders in case any of the host parents had to leave town. I agreed.

During the next couple of weeks, I wondered how I might cope with having a child in my home again. Come to think of it, the last of my children moved away 14 years ago. Had I become set in my ways, I wondered. Also, why would a child want to stay in my home? I don’t have electronic games here. I no longer fry potatoes or chicken fingers. My refrigerator mostly has fruit for snacks, and the cabinets have low-sodium corn chips. The only drinks I have are soymilk and diet root beer. Even my grandchildren get bored whenever they visit.

I did not wonder too long before Jennifer called to say one of the visiting students from China needed a home for 10 days. So, I picked him up on Friday evening, and now I am in new territory in my role as a surrogate mother.

So far, we are getting along fine, except for the live fish and chicken request. He frowned when I said no, but as with my own children and grandchildren, there are some things I am firm about.

Readers who might want to apply to host an international student through the Green Planet Homestay program may call Jennifer at 256-282-1102 or visit online at

Well, here I go persuading and perhaps motivating others to action. Maybe this first column is an editorial after all.

Email Sherry at
© 2013