Thursday, June 27, 2013
A tradition since 1987
It’s somewhat odd being one of the “old-timers” at the Mississippi Press Association Convention.
Pam, Erin and I attended the 147th annual get-together Thursday through Saturday at the Beau Rivage in Biloxi.
My first trip to the coast for the gathering of newspaper folks from across the state came back in 1987, when I was cutting my teeth in the business as sports editor of The Itawamba County Times.
I was immediately hooked, and I’ve missed only a few conventions since then.
I was the new kid on the block 26 years ago, and it was a blessing indeed.
I learned quickly to listen to those a whole lot wiser than me – those who had been putting out top-notch newspapers for a long time in Mississippi.
That’s where I got to meet newspaper legends like Jesse Phillips, Gale Denley, John Emmerich, Ellis Cuevas, and the list could go on and on.
I was also blessed to be working with another one at the time, Rubye Del Harden.
Each year we’ve had productive sessions at the convention, but I’ve always gained more knowledge through “talking shop” with others in the business.
This year, in particular, I realized that I’m suddenly one of the “old-timers” of the association. That’s hard for me to swallow at age 51.
I didn’t recognize many of the attendees, but I was so thankful to see new, young journalists beginning to make their marks in Mississippi.
At the same time, Pam and I were able to visit with many long-time friends, like Tom and Dee Andrews. We developed a special relationship with these two kind people when I was publisher of The Leader-Call in Laurel. Tom and I worked with the same company.
Tom has retired but we were happy to see him and his wife in attendance Thursday night for the opening reception. It was held at the Biloxi Visitors Center, next to the Biloxi Lighthouse (1848), prominent landmark on Beach Boulevard.
We were happy Friday night when we walked to the hospitality reception (after the President’s Banquet) and saw Waid Prather. He can always put a smile on your face.
Waid and I once worked together in Monroe County. He was publisher in Amory and I was publisher in Aberdeen. We’ve remained best of friends since.
He recently purchased The Carthaginian in Carthage from another good friend and long-time colleague, John Keith.
Several Mississippi newspapers have recently sold and we missed good folks like John and Lucy Keith and Bill and Amy Jacobs (from the Daily Leader in Brookhaven).
It’s also nice to see the coast continuing to make progress after Hurricane Katrina devastated the area in 2005.
One of my favorite restaurants, and Pam’s too, has always been McElroy’s Harbor House. It’s back, and as we found out Friday at lunch, it’s still great.
Pam and I enjoyed dinner Thursday night at the Half Shell, which we first got a taste of two years ago, while others went to one of the South’s all-time unique favorites – Mary Mahoney’s Old French House.
Trips to the Mississippi coast are still very enjoyable but the best of times, for me, was prior to the casinos. I miss the old coast, like the old Broadwater Beach Resort. That’s the coast I was introduced to 26 years ago.
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