Thursday, August 21, 2008
I had my Friday pretty much planned out.
It included getting some writing done, going to Byhalia to pick up inserts and see a few more customers, selecting photos for this week’s newspaper, and a few more tasks so I would be in good shape going into Monday morning.
But, as is the case many times, those plans changed.
First, I received word that friend and newspaper colleague Gale Denley, whose column is also a regular on this page, was in intensive care at Baptist Hospital in Oxford. His condition was very serious.
I knew my first priority had changed. I needed to get to Oxford as soon as possible.
I waited and signed the payroll.
Then I nailed out a few other requests that came via the telephone that morning.
Pam had to leave for Oxford earlier in the morning. She and Amy Heaton, Holly Springs Chamber of Commerce director, went to pick up a scooter which will be raffled off to help bring the Veterans Memorial Wall to Holly Springs.
She stopped by the intensive care waiting room and called to tell me I needed to get on over.
That’s when I left, driving faster than I should have.
I was able to visit him in the intensive care unit and tried to talk to him, but there was no response.
I stayed in touch with the family throughout the weekend and Pam and I returned for a visit Sunday afternoon. He had improved. When I saw him, he recognized me and responded to my comments. Please pray for Gale and his family.
Back to Friday – while at the hospital, Emma called. She was at the newspaper office and the engine of her Blazer was smoking.
“Dad, I need your help,” she said.
She was in a bit of a panic. I told her to just calm down.
I made a call. She got it transported to Carpenter’s. Later I found out the diagnosis did not sound good – the intake air gasket.
We had to keep it locked up until Monday morning, when we moved it on to Valentine’s for the necessary repair.
I might have to use that economic stimulus rebate check on my daughter’s vehicle. No, actually, it could have been much worse.
Back to Friday – I also discovered the electricity had gone out at the office late that afternoon. When it came back on, the telephones did not work.
On one ring, all the lines would light up and if we did not answer quickly, it would go straight to the voice mail.
This has happened before. I guess I have to agree with my wife after all – “Barry, it’s time for a new telephone system.”
It’s hard for a newspaper office to function without telephones – thanks to our steady stream of call-in customers.
I put in an emergency call to Joe Fant, who I think told me he was in West Memphis, Ark.
He couldn’t make it back in time to solve the problem on Friday, but he said he’d meet me at the office Saturday morning.
He did, and after about an hour, the telephones and The South Reporter were back in business.
A couple of things did go off as planned Friday.
I made it to Byhalia – just a few hours later.
And after the office closed at 5 p.m., I went to the funeral home to visit with the Randolph and Pryor families.
When I got home, I kind of wanted to “crash.”
But my 6-year-old, who had just finished up her first two days in the first grade, wanted to go out to eat.
We finished up a rather hectic day at El Nopalito’s.
Thank goodness, Saturday went off pretty much as planned – photographing of a couple of activities in Holly Springs and helping with the remodeling work going on at our church building.
It’s Monday, and everything seems to be pretty much on schedule and back to normal here at The South Reporter. But I’m not making any plans.
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