Whenever a person starts a new job they have to meet with the folks in the Human Resource Dept. to fill out all that paperwork. LaTicia was one of the first people I met at the FayObserver. She walked me through the history of the company. As we visited, I learned that she had grown up in Fayetteville but had been living & working in DC for sometime. Since I have spent so much time in DC we had great chats about the differences between DC and Fayetteville. She moved back to town so that her beautiful children could be closer to their grandparents. LaTicia and I had some great talks.
Kathy was the person who greeted me most every morning when I arrived at work. She handles those testy letters-to-the-editors and is the staff librarian. Kathy was the sifter of all those LTEs that rolled into the paper after my debut column. We talked everything from chickens to politics. Kathy lost her father at a young age, too. She’s also worked in the education field. She was a great help to me. I’ll miss having my own personal librarian-researcher assistant.
Gene Smith is the institution of the FayObserver. He’s outlasted several editors and a couple of publishers. He was my co-conspirator in all things editorial. A deft wordsmith with an witty pen and a vocabulary that rivals Will Short, Gene sat at the desk next to mine. His desk resembles a bunker, only instead of bags of sand he has reams of documents. There’s nothing Gene doesn’t know — except maybe for math. He’s has bad at that as I am. I’ll miss Gene.
I’ll always have fond memories of the afternoon that Myron and I spent at the DNC rally for Sen. John McCain. He rolled into the Crown Coliseum on that bus of his. It was pure Hollywood. Fayetteville is Myron’s hometown. He’s a blogger and columnist. We would spar off in the blogs from time to time and had some engaging political discussions. We were both avid Obama supporters, much to the dismay of our readers at times. Myron is a talent. We were making plans to spar off in the editorial pages about health care for prisoners. I’ll miss the intellectual challenges that Myron posed.
Jen was the voice of the FayObserver for me. She was the one who called me as I was driving into town and asked if I had a place to live. She helped me track down everything — from how to mail a letter from the office, to finding a downtown loft. Her husband, Brandon, also works at the paper. Brandon had a dream that we went to a Dodger’s game together. I told him soon as I hit the bestseller list, we’ll do that. Jen and I had some good talks about life in a military town.
Linda was one of the first people I met at the Observer and she’s the last to handle all my paperwork. She is the commander of the HR Dept. But she’s much more than that to me. I learned from LaTicia that Linda like to read. We spent time talking about authors we’ve read, people we admire, our faith and our children. Linda has a son who is an aspiring writer, already editing the newspaper at UNC- Penbroke and a daughter who is an outstanding athlete and real beauty. We felt a kinship as soon as we learned we both had daughters named Shelby. And, of course, our shared faith undergirded that kinship. Linda was one of the few people at the paper who got to meet Tim. She said he just had an aura about his presence. Linda has an aura herself, she ebodies that peace beyond understanding. She has been through some fires and come out refined.
Vicky is the gears behind Marathon Fridays when we were always cranking out three pages for three papers — Sat. Sun. & Mon. She would take over Kathy’s desk and entertain me with stories of her toddler daughter, or IBM, where her husband works, or horror tales from her one year of teaching gig. Vicky loves to read as well. She’s a terrific copy editor and knew everytime she gave me a page to copy edit that she was wasting her time. I can write but I can’t spell and my first language is hillbilly. Vicky is my facebook friend so we’ll stay in touch.
And of course I would never had this adventure had it not been for editor Tim White who first published my columns in the FayObserver and who recruited me for the job. Tim and I have been friends for several years now and will continue that friendship. He’s the best editor I’ve ever worked for but he’s more than that. Tim is a generous, kind-hearted soul who understands the gift of life. He’s married to the lovely Rachel. Like me, he lucked out in the marriage department. Rachel is wise and kind and beautiful. And she, too, would rescue a chicken in a heartbeat. Only she wouldn’t have been afraid to pick it up. She’s a vet.