Aaron and the author at Panera Bread in Little Rock, Arkansas

It’s been awhile since I’ve written one of my LOCAL HERO BLOGS … this one is very special!

If you are like me, you enjoy Panera Bread. You enjoy it for the good food, especially for the fresh baked bagels, mouth watering sugary iced cinnamon rolls and in-house brewed coffee. Generally speaking, that covers breakfast for me … moving on to lunch, I love the soups, the sandwiches and the occasional Margherita pizza. But, that’s not all … I love the ambiance, the refreshing art, the open seating and the interior architecture. But, most of all, I keep coming back to the Panera Bread on University Avenue in Little Rock because of the friendly staff … they make this place “feel like home” with their smiles and helpful attitudes. In a way, they are all my local heroes.

That said, there is one employee who always and I mean “always” has the biggest smile, the most spirited helpfulness and the most gracious manner. He is pictured above … his name is AARON. I don’t know his last name and that’s okay because, for all I know and based on the way he represents this store, his last name could be “Panera.” He treats his job and his customers as if he owns the company. Aaron completes that proverbial “customer experience” … Good food, good place and great service.

AARON, MR. AARON, MR AARON PANERA …. I am so honored to know you and to declare that you are truly one of the best of the best and … MY LOCAL HERO !!!

See you soon … at “your” Panera Bread Company

So, what’s the big deal about the chronological number “80” as it relates to my birthday tomorrow? 80 is not such a big number anymore … 80 degree temperature in Little Rock today is a good low number; 80 MPH is getting to be a comfortable number on main highways; 80 dollar motel rooms are bargains. So what is the big deal about 80?

Well, I’m alive … A Big deal! I feel many years younger Big deal too. I am able to do the things I like to do … travel with Patti, hike National Parks with my buddies, Daryl, Bryan and JC and host the annual Charlie Brown Christmas Campout with DJ, Jeff, John, Eileen, Bryan, Daryl, JC and Renie … Big Deal to Charlie Brown and to me! Continue a 43 year, once a week, lunch tradition with friends Don, Bill, Loyd, Renie, Presley, Tim, Dudley, Bart and “John” … Unheard of Big deal! Walk the streets and steps of Eureka Springs each Labor Day with our super intellectual friends, Nancy and Steve … Cultural enrichment Big deal! Frequent pilgrimages to Branson plus shared family memories with Gwen and JC. Priceless Big deal! After work glass of wine with my soul brother, Bruce … LR Big deal! That I can still drive, get out for awhile, go to the office … thank you,Hank … yes, it is a Huge Deal! Be thankful for my two amazing sisters Kathy and Stephanie, their husbands Ray and Hank, our role model Parents, Ellen and Dalton, our Catholic Education and our instilled work ethic … Growing up Dailey big Deal!

But, The Biggest Big deal of All … My immediate Family: My wife,Patti, four children: Laura, Donna, DJ, Jeff, their spouses: Mark, John, Joy, Eileen. Our grandchildren Katherine, Ashley, Leslie, Michael, Ryn, Morgan … Superlative of superlatives Big, Big Deal!!

Above … one of the few times we can get Patti and I, Laura, Donna, DJ and Jeff plus Eileen, John, Mark, Joy … Ryn, Michael, Ashley, Leslie, Katherine, Morgan in one photo.

In the above photo … of note, My dad was in the Navy. Our son DJ served in the Navy as well. I was Army.

43 years of weekly lunch, annual ski trip or golf trip, countless martinis, fine dining and breakfast fruit salad. Most of all, a friendship bond unequaled. John, in white shirt is now in Heaven watching over us but still with us… Spiritual BIG DEAL!!

10 years of Charlie Brown Christmas Campout … We will do it again this year … another BIG DEAL!

Icould easily go on and on. I’ll merely say for now … I have been blessed to not only live for 80 short years but to have had the family and friends God blessed me with. I cannot imaging anything better. God willing, I look forward to a few more years doing more of what I have been doing. I also, look forward to more travels with the most wonderful wife of 57 years. I treasure my friends and family and thank you for the blessings with which you shower me each day. You are in my thoughts and prayers each and every day. Jim

First Stop … Santa Fe.

Patti and I, once again, enjoyed a leisurely road trip with several memorable stops along the way to Buena Vista. More about that later.

We always relish a little pause in the State Capitol of New Mexico. There’s something new every time we visit Santa Fe. Of course, we had dinner in the historic La Fonda Hotel and made the obligatory rounds of the Plaza where, this time, there was an antique auto show. We spent most of our time at the fast growing Railyard Artisan Market. I love their mission … providing the local artisan community a venue where they can sell their products. Many of these artists might have little chance of displaying on the square or Canyon Rd … The Railyard is a perfect place to get introduced to the public. Looks like it’s working!

Next Stop … another favorite place of ours … Las Vegas, New Mexico.

This small city is fast becoming a player in the destination tourism business. We have been coming through Las Vegas for years … most times to pass thru or merely stop for the night. One time we stayed in the beautiful historic Plaza Hotel on the square and last year we serendipitously happened on the SKILLET RESTAURANT. The couple pictured below (photo credit santafe.com) is the owner/founder, Isaac and Shawna. There story is pretty amazing. For example,if you look carefully above the entryway of their building, you can see the giant 3 foot iron skillet that started it all. Isaac has his art/sculpture studio next door … his creativity is obvious … both inside and outside.. Besides, the food is good too … our burgers were as good or better than any we have eaten anywhere.

This little city is definitely a place to visit … history, retail, business, etc. etc. While you are there, don’t miss The Skittle!


8000′ elevation, citizen population 3000, daytime population probably at least double that … most importantly … LOCATION … Roaring Arkansas River on the East side and 14.000′ Collegiate Peaks on the West side. For spellbinding beauty and thrilling outdoor recreation, there’s not a place in Colorado any better. And now, in addition to all these natural features, Buena Vista has become a city reinventing itself with new and modern housing, an entire South Main river community development, coffee bars, every day and fine dining restaurants, etc. Next time we will stay longer.

I think we’ve had a love affair with Buena Vista for years but based on short visits in the past. This time we had four days allowing us plenty of time to relax, explore and experience that “At Home” feeing in this beautiful community. Oh … did I mention … the morning temps ranged all the way from 40-44 degrees.

Not a bad City Park
Crave … our favorite restaurant in BV

I’ll finish up by saying this was another beautiful time for Patti and me to rest and enjoy time together. Our focus was Buena Vista. However, we did make it to Salida for lunch on the river and then Sopaipillas in Leadville at Casa Blanca … once again open Post Covid. We always learn something interesting while driving thru small towns … Did you know that Syracuse, Kansas in 1887 became the first city in the USA to have an ALL-FEMALE city council? The things you learn on the Blue Highways!

Check out the slide show below as well. SAFE TRAVELS! Jimd

In my last blog posting I wrote about a visit to New Orleans Loyola University Campus where I attended my first two years of College. What I failed to mention, or had forgotten or possibly never knew was the significance of the name to me personally. Obviously it had meaning because I went to school there. More than that is my connection to its root history … accidentally stumbled on yesterday. I was looking at my photo of the main building and a question popped into my head … Was there a Saint Loyola? A quick google search reminded me that there was not a Saint Loyola, but there is a Saint Ignatius of Loyola. He was one of the founders of the Society of Jesus (Jesuit Priest Oder) and became the first Superior General of the Society in 1541. And, on top of that, his feast day is July 31 … my birthday. Talk about synchronicity … or, is it more than that?

Saint Ignatius of Loyola, SJ

Loyola University, New Orleans, La.

I won’t even admit the number of years since I spent my Freshman and Sophomore years in New Orleans at Loyola University. I will admit to a flood of memories as Patti and I walked the campus a couple of weeks ago. The short story is this. I enrolled at Loyola with plans to study Dentistry only to change my mind one day before classes were to begin. My parents were pretty understanding, I switched to Business and, in my third year, transferred to the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville where I successfully graduated with a BSBA in Business and Marketing. Irony of Ironies … our son, DJ, is now a very successful Dentist in Little Rock.

I loved my time at Loyola and in New Orleans … Saint Charles Trolley, Audubon Park, Garden District, even Bourbon Street. I made great friends, especially one named “Ducky”. What a friend! He even dated my girlfriend after I left Louisiana for Arkansas. Yes, what a friend! Thanks Ducky!

Then there were the Jesuits. I was fortunate to have several as teachers finding them to be deeply intellectual, powerfully effective as teachers and spiritually wise in matters of faith, morals and religion. I had been raised as a Catechism Catholic using the instruction system of fixed questions, answers and precepts. The fundamentals committed to memory. My Jesuit instructors took all that and explained/taught the science, philosophy and spiritual basis. They taught us to “learn and think”.

Typical Tourist … We headed for Bourbon Street and the French Quarter and Saint Louis Cathedral

This was a favorite of ours … the Musical Legends Park.

The above Church is the Immaculate Conception Jesuit Church ,,, a beautiful downtown Catholic Church sporting a 24 Karat Gold plated altar and pews made of sculpted Moorish Cast Iron.

Casino Time … in our world of today, with a casino seemingly in every city, we did find time to spin a few wheels in Harrah’s New Orleans and Beau Rivage Biloxi, In addition we enjoyed a beach lunch venue and the captivating Dance of the Sea Gulls.

This was a wonderful road trip … time to be together, time to reminisce, time to recharge, time to eat too much and even time to enjoy the art of walking ,,, yes, walking, especially through an interesting, historic city like New Orleans. I commented to Patti when we first hit the road … my car was balking as I pointed it South. I wasn’t even sure the Navigation System would work in any direction other than West. It did … the trip was awesome … We loved it!! ……………………. now it’s time to head West!

It was with mixed emotions we embarked on our annual guys trip … I believe it was our 44th. We returned to Scottsdale to the same beautiful home we’ve rented for the last decade. Our group has gotten smaller due to the health of several, the reduced interest of a couple and now, the tragic heart attack and loss of our friend John. Before covering this year’s events, I’ve chosen to walk down the SST Memory Lane with special attention to the spirit, love, humor, wisdom and friendship of this rare unique individual God shared with us for the past four decades. He will always be remembered!

Kay and John

SST … otherwise known as Stanley Ski Team, primarily had it’s roots with a business group of non competing company and professional leaders. Holding weekly breakfasts and frequent open houses, we grew as friends and started having lunch together once a week and going on an annual skiing trip. Now, in our Senior years, we seek adventures in warmer climates … predominately, Scottsdale, Arizona. We mix our activities with golf, hiking, solving the world’s issues and continuing to strengthen our amazing brotherhood bond.

Here is a gallery of some pictures taken through the years.

Now … on to the happenings of 2022

We missed John, talked about him often. However, just like the shadow photo above, he was with us every step of the way.

As in the past few years, I drove my car … Loyd and Bill were with me. We traded driving, traded political opinions and sometimes got off the main roads to see sights of interest. Of particular note to Loyd and Bill was a visit to Montezuma’s Castle. a 700 year old Cliff dwelling near Camp Verde. Arizona. Then on to Scottsdale for four days where we met Renie and Bart.

Montezuma’s Castle

Return Trip … Las Cruces to Elk City to Little Rock.

On the return, Bill and I visited the Roadrunner Sculpture near Las Cruces, had a great dinner in the historic town of Mesilla, drove and walked White Sands National Monument (The missile range was closed), made a short Casino stop and continued our drive home. We thank God for our time together and our safe return.

In closing, I have this thought … Our group is getting old. In spite of this and the loss of one of our most committed brothers, I choose gratefulness over grief. We have been blessed as a group with a unique bond. For this I thank each SST member and especially thank God for all we have shared.


Jim Dailey at WordPress

My last pair of boots at WordPress.

Yes I did. The year was 1996 and I lost the Party nomination. End of story.

If the story ends, why bring it up today when I haven’t thought about it in years. Well, today, my wife and I were putting away Christmas Decorations and I found a stack of these stickers and felt an inner compulsion to memoralize a small vignette of my political history.

My failed attempt to be Arkansas Lieutenant Governor

Here is how it all came about:

I had been in and out of politics during the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. In my mind, I thought I might like to run for Governor sometime. Serving as Mayor of the largest city in Arkansas, garnered considerable statewide media exposure, i.e., name recognition … I was ready if given the opportunity. Governor Tucker stepped down and Lt. Governor, Huckabee stepped in leaving a vacancy in the Lt. Governor’s office.

I’ll make this short by saying I filed for the position, proceeded to campaign statewide and lost in a caucus to a very capable State Senator from Saline County, Charlie Cole Chaffin. She then lost to Win Rockefeller in the General Election. So much for my pathway to the Governor’s office.

That’s the story in brief. “Brief” is a good word because this was a compressed campaign and I dare say most people, including my closest friends … maybe even my campaign Chairperson, Nancy Rousseau … don’t even remember that I was once a candidate for the second highest office in the state, Lieutenant Governor.

PS: I may have been the happiest loser ever I got to return to the greatest honor I could ever hold … Serving 14 years as Mayor of Little Rock, my lifetime home town. Thank you Little Rock. JD

Actually, I must say … the greatest honor really, is being married to Patti for fifty plus years.

Hard to beat a family Christmas gathering …

December 2020 our family and most of our friends were following Covid protocols and avoiding all indoor gatherings. The most bizarre memory I have … picture this … Patti and I standing with masks on at our open garage door – daughter Laura, her husband Mark and four children drive up, remain in the car, gifts are exchanged thru open windows, a few warm Christmas wishes are made and they drive away. Better than nothing but far from normal.

Fortunately, this year, all vaccinated and boosted, we came together for an evening inside with food, gifts, family bonding and even a little Single Malt Scotch tasting. Michael treated us to “Oh Holy Night” on his new guitar, while the rest of us smiled, laughed, sang and simply “had fun”.

Obviously we are concerned with the next Covid mutation … but for one night we came together … OH HOLY NIGHT!


Ok … so, some of these photos are from Christmas Past. I’m still working with this WordPress program and ended up with some vacant slots in the gallery. Had to fill them … why not with a few memories of younger years and My Mom Ellen as well. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Stay safe!

Once again, my two sons and three “crazy as I am friends” headed for the majestic limestone bluffs and crystal clear free flowing Buffalo National River near historic Jasper, Arkansas to celebrate Christmas in the Ozarks … Charlie Brown Style. The weekend started cloudy with powerful Friday night winds. (this was also the tragic night deadly tornadoes ripped thru Arkansas and Kentucky) Fortunately our tents held together and we awakened to a crisp sunny saturday … whereupon, wiith our Charlie Brown tree, Santa Hats and the Kyle’s Landing bluff line background we staged this official photo.

Because of the lives lost and the unbelievable devastation along the tornado path, I hesitated to post anything that seemed to “celebrate”. However, I decided to proceed and ask my few blog followers to send a few dollars to the American Red Cross. This is one way we can participate in the rebuilding and healing of those who have lost so much. I think Charlie Brown would agree.

Blessing to you and your loved ones during this Holiday Season!

The first time I ran for political office, I used a slogan … Being a City Council Member is a Dailey Job. This double entendre, played off my name,”Dailey”and the need to be on the job “daily”, Well, family is a daily job too and sometimes I take that for granted. Sure I show up for birthdays (we are celebrating our Granddaughter, Morgan’s birthday this evening). However, I’m not sure I/we fully embrace the significance and power of this family bond … so this year we did something about it. At the suggestion of son in law, John, we rented a six bedroom log house in Breckenridge, Colorado for Patti and me, our four adult children and their spouses. It was a heart warming, fun filled, reinvigoration of love and the true spirit of Family.

Even though this was “adults only” we loved having Colorado resident , our niece Grace, her husband, Luke and their beautiful three children come by for a few hours. Grace and Luke have climbed all the Colorado 14er’s and their three little one’s aren’t far behind.
We go to Colorado in the fall for the beautiful Aspen color. This year we saw some of the traditional shimmering golden leaves but, more importantly, we witnessed first hand the golden spirit and strength of family … Dailey/daily Family