It has been an interesting week, to say the least. My principal, Ron Mitchell, called me Tuesday morning and let me know that I will be teaching six communication arts classes this fall. This was the news that I had been hoping for. Of the classes I taught during the 2003-2004 school year, the one with which I was most uncomfortable was multi-media, which I taught two hours a day during the fall semester and one hour a day during the spring semester.
I was ready to throw myself into multi-media this year and I have no doubt I would have greatly improved the class from the way I handled it last year, but I really love to teach writing so the opportunity to do that the whole day is exactly what I want.
Everyone seems to have confidence that I can teach writing, but I wonder if anyone believes I am actually capable of writing any more.
I had to stop by The Carthage Press Monday to pick up some furniture I left there five years ago. I happened to get there just as the managing editor, Ron Graber, was conducting a staff meeting. It really didn't bring back any memories, good or bad. I kept waiting to hear about wonderful feature ideas and investigative pieces and enterprise reporting, the kind that Ron, John Hacker, Cait, Amy, Randee Kaiser, and the rest of us did on a regular basis.
I don't guess anyone does that kind of work any more. At least not at any small daily newspaper in southwest Missouri. I did something I had promised myself I would never do a little while later as Ron and I were going through my stuff, which had ben left untouched for five years. I hinted that I might be willing to do some writing. Ron deftly avoided the topic. I felt like a dinosaur. I guess The Carthage Press has moved past my style of journalism. (And I don't hear a great outcry for the return of it.)
I wanted to ask why no one did a story at the time of the Carthage Senior High School graduation about Doug Ringler, the member of the class of 2004 who did not make it because he was brutally murdered when he was eight years old. The kids remembered Doug. Why didn't The Carthage Press or The Joplin Globe?
Next month will be the 70th anniversary of when King Carl Hubbell, the lefty screwballer of the New York Giants struck out five Hall-of-Famers in a row, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Joe Cronin and Al Simmons during the 1934 all-star game. Hubbell was born in Avilla and many baseball books list his hometown as Carthage.
With all of the talk about Al Queda, why has no one looked into the murder of the Lamar man at the Kenyan embassy six years ago at the hands of Al Queda. Government documents indicate that the U. S. embassies are not any safer for employees than they were six years ago.
There are so many stories, but everyone is satisfied with running the same boring day-to-day stories. Yes, those stories do need to be done, but they should not be the main course. Is it any wonder that the small town daily newspaper (and the metro newspaper, for that matter) is teetering on the brink of extinction.
A slightly embarrassing thing took place at Books-A-Million last night. As I was heading toward the checkout counter, I heard a young woman yelling, "Mister Turner, Mister Turner." It wasn't one of my students or one of my former students, but a former faculty member at the one of the schools at which I have taught. She said after calling me Mr. Turner for so long, she couldn't get used to calling me Randy, which is fine, I guess. We talked for a while. I was enjoying her company and found myself asking if she wanted to go over to Joe Muggs and have a drink. Now why wasn't I smart enough to figure that a young woman that good looking wasn't out at Books-A-Million on a Saturday night by herself? She thanked me for the invitation and pointed out politely that she wasn't there alone. Somehow, she handled it in such a way that I didn't feel as stupid as I normally do when I do something like that.
Actually, the more I think about it, the more I think I feel pretty good that she didn't act repulsed, recoil in horror, or reach for the Pepto Bismol. She actually seemed to enjoy my company.
Maybe there's hope for me yet.
For some reason, that reminds me of a blind date I went on about 20 years ago. The girl and I got along great, but her seeing-eye dog bit me.