By MIKE WEST
My old buddy, “Hammerhaid,” warned me “you better look out about Woodbury.”
Except, he pronounces Woodbury more like “Woodburrrrr.”
But I knew better than to listen to old Hammerhaid, who tends to get worked up just about anything and everything.
Well anyway, I visited the Cannon Courier the other day to talk to Publisher Ron Fryar about a job prospect. It was a Saturday and Ron and Sports Editor Tony Stinnett were there along with newspaper all-star Jana Roe, who I knew well from my days at the Murfreesboro Post paper.
Heck, I knew them all from my previous jobs. It was like old home week there in the Cannon Courier office. In fact, the Courier office looked perfect. It was nice and open with up-to-date computers (for the most part) with a great location right on Woodbury’s Square. The office was great with couches for late-night naps and cabinets loaded with snacks. It was even a little junky like all newspaper offices should be.
So I took the job that Mr.. Fryar offered, editor of the Cannon Courier. Little did I know….
When I popped in that next Monday morning, Tony and Jana were there. Jana was finishing production on the next edition. And Tony was doing what he normally does … talk, talk and talk.
He did announce that Ron would be missing due to a mishap at his home.
As the day hustled along, that little announcement grew and grew. Ron, it seemed, had fallen over a fence at his home and had hit the ground some eight feet below. The lawn mower had landed on top of him and he had suffered broken ribs and a punctured lung.
That story would grow as the week advanced.
The fall “off a dangling cliff” had been 10 feet and a big riding mower had pinned him in the river. It was a miracle he survived. He had lost his phone and he had crawled hundreds (or was it thousands) of feet back to his house and called for help
It took a few days to find out his “adventure” was bad, maybe even horrible, but not nearly as bad as the rumor mill disclosed.
Meanwhile, I was at work answered the phone, taking ads and doing all sorts of newspaper work. Trouble was I was all by my lonesome and generally had no idea how things were run or where things were kept.
Eventually, Teresa Stoetzel, returned from her vacation and we got back to normal for a second or two. Hmmmm, I doubt it was even for that long.
You see the Courier depended on two computers for its mailing system. Yep, two little ancient Macintoshes that dated back to the days of the Bragg brothers. It was a nice system, one computer held the updated mailing information and the other was connected to a printing system that generated the nice labels …. Thousands of nice labels.
When she wasn’t putting the paper together, taking ads and answering the phone, Teresa tried valiantly to restore that computer or fashion a work-around.
It was left to Becky (Ron’s wife) to write out those thousands of labels by hand. It was late, late, later before the Courier hit the post office. All the while, we were attempting to work out an alternative system.
That was about time that Teresa was struck by a terrible virus that had already sent her husband Bob to the hospital. Jana, who was on vacation, rode in to save the day. Ron, who a little like Lazurus, got out of the hospital and returned to work.
We managed to publish another Courier, but a little late, It was late enough to mess up the mail flow unfortunately.
But I’m still here and like the rest of my associates ready to put out another great edition of the Cannon Courier.