Last week I wrote what I called my last column for a long time.
For exactly one week, as it turned out. Because of the vagaries of the Gregorian calendar system, the jigsaw puzzle that is the time zone system and the third factor – I can’t imagine what that is but these listings always sound better when there are three – I am back again.
With my last column for a long time. I’ll miss writing a weekly column for the next few months. I haven’t had that long a break since I walked into the publisher’s office at my first newspaper job right out of college.
“Don,” I said after having rehearsed my spiel. “I would like to write a weekly column for our editorial page. A personal column, so sometimes funny, sometimes not, just reflecting the things I am thinking about. I lead a pretty calm life, so I figure that if anything happens to me and I write about it, our readers will be able to identify with it.”
Don didn’t even look up from his magazine.
“Knock yourself out,” he said.
With that ringing endorsement from the start, I eagerly jumped into performing extra work that brought no extra pay – something inherent in every journalist’s DNA. My photo on the column showed me in the English driving hat that young columnists often fancy makes them look cool, even though it rarely does.
I remember days when I would write a straight news story about a local issue, a column opposing the issue and then an editorial endorsing it because the boss was busy with other matters (Kiwanis Club luncheons) and didn’t have time.
Meanwhile, life went on. My son was born on the first anniversary of that job; we bought a car with air conditioning so it would be easier to drive to the doctors in the next city 40 miles away. (It was actually 26, but the road was so bad we added potholes to the distance. I often said any gynecologist or pediatrician who opened shop in our town would make a fortune.)
Six months after Tommy was born, I moved to another town, and I immediately began a column in addition to covering the police beat, the courts, the city council, the farm show, the chicken races and so on.
One week, I filled in for the society editor, a breed that no longer exists, and I misread the handwritten description of a wedding and printed that the dress was adorned with “seed peanuts” instead of “seed pearls,” because I had never heard of seed pearls. That would have sounded right in my column, but not in a feature story.
My column was called “Moore or Less” by then and ran in the daily paper and on the front of the weekly, where JoAn suggested “Moore” be blown up large and “Less” reduced to tiny print. I wrote twice a week for a while.
Some columns involved an imaginary local yokel named Cleotus Allegood. Soon the writer for the local free shopper publication adopted Cleotus as his own and married him off. I had to unmarry Cleotus in my next column, but to this day, I think my character is still being written about in rural Georgia.
The column moved with me to two other jobs before this one. I realized recently that I have written it at least once a week for 40 years, which amounts to about 100 billion columns, give or take. It’s been fun all the way.
And, oh, Merry Christmas until I see you again.
Reach Glynn Moore at (706) 823-3419