This is an opinion piece.

My oldest son, James, is a first grader in Jill Blackmon’s class at Carlisle Elementary School. He stays after school in Carlisle’s extended day program.

When I picked him up Wednesday, he told me the students voted for president. I didn’t know Carlisle was going to conduct a mock election, so I didn’t have a chance to influence James’ vote.

“Who did you vote for, James?” I asked.

“Which one is still president?” James asked. When I told him Donald Trump, he smiled and said, “That’s the one I voted for.”

I told James his “Poppy,” David Haven, would be proud, and so would my late grandfather, V.B. Hammonds, who died in December 1996 at the age of 96. Granddaddy Hammonds was a lifelong Republican, and he told me during the final year of his life that he never voted for a Democrat in a presidential election.

I’m not sure if Granddaddy Hammonds would be a fan of President Trump, but I know he would support the Republican Party platform, which doesn’t include any hints of socialism and protects the rights of the unborn.

James will have to wait several more years before he can vote in an actual election, but I get another opportunity to cast my ballot Tuesday. If you’re a registered voter, I encourage you to visit the polls and make your voice heard.


Ice cream every day

My youngest son, Brady, is a pre-K student in Rachel Knott and Kristi Dunn’s class at Carlisle.

Etowah County Schools don’t offer extended day for pre-K students, so I pick up Brady three afternoons a week while his mother and my beautiful bride, Malarie, gets him twice a week.

After Malarie picked up Brady on Tuesday afternoon, she stopped to get him ice cream.

“When me grow up and be a policeman, me gonna get ice cream every day,” Brady said.

We’re not sure where Brady came up with the idea, but he believes the ability to get ice cream when you want to is a perk of being a policeman.

On the afternoons Brady spends with me at The Reporter, he entertains himself by watching “Paw Patrol,” “Blaze and the Monster Machines,” “Peppa Pig” and other videos. Sometimes while watching videos, he walks over to my desk and says, “Daddy, me gonna get all this for Christmas.”

At the rate Brady’s adding to his wish list, Santa Claus is going to have to make more than one stop at the Allen house on Christmas Eve to deliver all his presents.


My letter to Santa

My brother, Jeff, found my third-grade letter to Santa Claus while cleaning out some drawers at our late parents’ home.

Both Jeff and Malarie were amazed to discover I had good penmanship when I was a student in Mrs. Eleanor Woodruff’s class at Crossville Elementary.

The late Lillian Ridgeway was the last teacher to tell me I had good penmanship, and that was in the fifth grade. Needless to say, that’s been more than a day or two ago.


Shannon J. Allen is sports editor for The Reporter. He can be reached at

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