The Buck Stops Here

Posted on Tuesday, March 11, 2014 at 12:20 pm

Time for some disassociated items, one political, one professional and one personal.

•••
I’m glad Bob Ringhausen and the Louisiana American Legion will be holding candidate forums again soon.
The last time Ringhausen, the Legion and moderator Brent Engel handled the city council candidates night, it was a resounding success . It was also the best attended political forum I’ve been to since I’ve been here.
The forums are handled professionally and with respect to the candidates. Rules and timing of answers are strictly adhered to.
That’s why I urge you to go to the forums. They are an excellent way to learn about and see the candidates. It also reveals who can think on their feet.
The first forum will be for city council and school board candidates at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 26 at the Legion Hall.
The second forum is at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 26 for the five mayoral candidates.
I would suggest getting there a little early to get a good seat. You can also submit questions for the candidates from 6-6:20 p.m. those nights. I hope to see you there.

•••

A journalist is trained and doesn’t last if they infuse their emotions into stories. I’ve managed to do that pretty well through the years but you have to work at it.
I don’t forget the people I’ve seen in horrible accidents or the tongue lashings. I’ve had people call me “ghoul” and other such pleasantries but if I let it bother me too much, I couldn’t get my job done.
But there are days when emotion overwhelms the objectivity. That happened to me last week when I walked up on the fire devastation that used to be the Clarksville Station.
I started thinking about the 40 or so affected employees, owner Nathalie Pettus’ dream going up in flames and the fact that Pike County just didn’t need one more disaster.
But I got over it quickly because I had to file a story and it was deadline day. I managed, but I don’t think I’ll ever get that smoldering scene out of my skull for awhile.
I’m just glad to know that Pettus is bound and determined to rebuild as soon as possible. We all need the morale boost.

•••

I could hear my dad sigh from heaven last week when I read that the old Castle Ballroom in St. Louis will soon be torn down.
The building has been vacant and decaying for years, but in its heyday during the first half of the last century, the greatest names in jazz played there frequently.
One of my dad’s favorite stories was about the time he saw Count Basie’s band at “The Castle” as he called it.
My dad and his buddy were the only Caucasian people there. Although it was the mid-1930s, he said it wasn’t any big deal or hassle.
They watched Basie play for a couple hours or so and then made their way to the edge of the bandstand at midnight.
My dad said he and his buddy both put a foot on the stage at the moment Basie’s band broke into “One O’Clock Jump.”
It lasted one full hour and dad said it was the most incredible musical experience of his life.
That story caused me to buy dad a Count Basie album for about six years straight. I’ll never forget listening to those records together. It was very special.

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