I joked that I'd shown up because I'd seen a light on and was looking for food, but guess who was asked to speak to the senior citizens at Beaver Dam church last night?
Yeah, I know. They must not have been able to get anybody else.
I love speaking to seniors. They're nice. They cook well. They get my references to radio shows and Lawrence Welk. They applaud even when I try to sing.
So, I told them about the time I got all tongue-tied when I met Tom Selleck in New York. And I said that I used to want to be an Oak Ridge Boy when I grew up. (I still do, come to think about it.)
And I told them about Catfish Dave and Bruce Blakely and Ed Byer and several other super stories it's been my privilege to share over these past 11 years.
I told them that the thing I loved most when Sandra Clark sold the Shopper to Scripps five years ago was being able to say that I work for the same company that once employed my hero, war correspondent Ernie Pyle.
I like Ernie because he hung out in the trenches with the troops. And he wrote well. A favorite observation: "When you go long enough without a bath, even the fleas leave you alone."
My other hero, the late, great Charles Kuralt, who worked for CBS News, has a great quote. "The everyday kindness of the backroads," he said, "more than makes up for the greed in the headlines.
I told the seniors at Beaver Dam that, too. And I believe it.
Thanks for having me, y'all.