Like writing a letter to a good friend
Leada DeVaney, Hartselle Enquirer
Mike Kelley, the publisher of the Clanton Advertiser and a good friend, called me last week.
"We need to talk," he said in an ominous voice.
Uh-oh, I thought. What have I done? He sure sounded serious, so I figured I had really screwed something up.
My mind was racing.
Finally, he spoke.
"You really need to go to the store and buy new oil if you're going to bake Greg a cake," he said. "You've got to do a lot better than that if we're going to get you married off."
Oil? What was he talking about? Then it occurred to me. This column is run each Friday in the Advertiser. Mike had read my column.
I breathed a huge sigh of relief. He just laughed.
As strange as it may seem, I often feel like I'm writing these columns to a good friend and not what has become – thank goodness – thousands of readers. The result is I am often totally unprepared when people make comments about something I've written.
Case in point: Johnny Lowe was a wonderful man who lived in Columbiana, the home of my former newspaper, the Shelby County Reporter. Johnny came up to me at a meeting one time and said with a grin "I see you've got on pantyhose. You must be trying to impress someone."
I spun around, prepared to ask him what in the world he was talking about when I remembered a column I had written months before.
"I hate wearing pantyhose," or some such life-changing subject, was the general theme.
And you know what? He was right. I was wearing pantyhose, I didn't like it and I was trying to impress someone. I had just forgotten I had told the world this was my plan.
During the last 11 years, I've written about loves gained and lost, a couple of moves, a new job, a new house, the birth of nieces and nephews, lots of shoes, dogs, squirrels, car troubles, good friends and the deep mysteries of life, such as why you always lose one sock in the dryer. And through it all, it sometimes gets away from me this is being read.
A couple of months ago, someone came up to my mother at church and told her they loved reading her daughter's columns in the Clanton Advertiser.
"Are they running your columns in the Clanton Advertiser?" my mother called and asked.
"Yes, mother," I replied. "Every Friday."
"Will you get me a copy?" mother asked.
"Sure," I replied. "But don't you have a copy of the Enquirer?"
"Yes, but now you're a franchise."
Not yet, mom. But at least maybe someone is reading this.