Thursday, July 24, 2008

me, me, me

I don't do memes very often. I really didn't know they were called that until a few minutes ago. But this one was pretty cool and not too challenging. So, JMom, this is for you!

What were you doing 10 years ago? Not a whole lot, really. I was working for the "Daily Corinthian" both night and day and wishing that I had a life and friends to go places with. That's basically it.

Favorite Snacks: It used to be most anything Little Debbie but since I've been having blood sugar issues of late, she and I have taken a slight respite. I really enjoy anything that includes dipping - salsas, chips and dip or fruit dips. I love kettle corn, peanut butter, pretzels, bananas, most any nut, Pecan Sandies and tangerines. Not all at one time cause that is a weird combo pack.

To Do List: I keep mental lists of all sorts in my head - even a "to do" one. Course it hurts when I attempt to cross something off!

Jobs I Have Had: Babysitter, editor of an alumni newspaper, editor of a weekly newspaper, news editor of a daily newspaper, part time desk clerk at city library, noon cashier at diner, substitute teacher, project director for a school district.

Places I Have Lived (counting college): Jackson, TN, Kirkville, MO, Somewhere else in TN where my dad was principal briefly, Corinth, MS, Booneville, MS, Columbus, MS, Baldwyn, MS, Corinth MS again and still. Bad Habits: Biting my fingernails, worrying (most of the time over nothing), jumping to conclusions before I have all the facts, talking to other drivers when I'm on the road, and, I'm sure, many, many more things!

Random Things People May Not Know

* I once had a drum set in my kitchen.
* One of my ancestors founded (and funded) a Quaker church in Maryland. My grandparents and great-grandparents founded the Methodist church my parents attended. I've never been a member of either denomination. Another ancestor worked closely with William Penn during the founding of the Pennsylvania Colony.
* I'm technically a farmer. My sister and I rent out the land we own in Jobetown. I am the one who deals with all the business of this proposition so I consider that farming.
* My great-great grandfather had 21 children so I am related to most all of the Jobes from Alcorn County.
* My middle name is spelled Anne to match the spelling of my last name. Although my parents were being clever, though, they didn't remember this fact until I had to get my birth certificate out to get my driver's license. Needless to say, we had been spelling my first and middle names incorrectly for years.
* I used to be a HUGE Lawrence Welk Show fan. I had a HUGE crush on Guy Hovis and told him that when I met him once. It probably wasn't quite so endearing coming from a 2o-something as it would've been from a four year old!
I'm sure there are even more less fascinating things that I can't think of right now.

CDs I would want if stranded on an island: anything by Audio Adrenaline, Mercy Me, Casting Crowns, Nicole C. Mullen. Specifics: Pure Country CD, Pure Disco CD, 80s Hits CD, B52s Greatest Hits, Earth, Wind and Fire's Greatest Hits, John Cougar Mellancamp's Greatest Hits, Martina McBride's Greatest Hits and the "Wicked" soundtrack. Yep, my tastes vary. I'd really like to have a satellite radio system if stranded anywhere (I REALLY wish I had one now!)

What I'd Do if I Were a Billionaire: I would first get out of debt and help those closest to me do the same. Then I would build the respite camp for families with special needs kids on my land in Jobetown and have it equipped to the max - including lots of farm animals for them! I would buy a new vehicle - probably a convertible of some sort (Mustang, I'm sure - fire engine red). I would renovate my house here in Corinth FINALLY buying the leather couch, recliner and queen-sized bed I've been wanting. Plus I would build a large theatre-type room on the back of my house with a huge flat screen TV, arcade style games and a soda fountain. I would subscribe to satellite radio for life. I would buy a house on the Outer Banks, either in Buxton or Ocracoke, and get an apartment in New York City, too. I'd probably go ahead and get a cabin in the Smokies as well. I would put some money in savings for McCartney, Taylor and any other nieces or nephews I have at that time to go to college. I would get them all a vehicle when they graduated from high school. I wouldn't live extravagantly really, but it would be nice to have more money at the end of the month rather than more month than money!

Anybody else want to play?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Finding comfort from a genius

It's been a difficult past few days for me since my daddy died. I've received such wonderful love and comfort from those around me and I feel so blessed to have such caring people in my life. I honestly don't think I could've gotten through the weekend without my best friend, Mandi, here to keep me centered and make sure I got to the funeral home on time. She even put up with my bouts of insomnia and didn't complain when I watched Tom & Jerry cartoons at 4 a.m. on Saturday. I know the volume was probably louder than it needed to be at that time.

Perhaps the most unusual source of comfort came from someone others might think incapable of offering it. Tonight, my friend, Julie, called to check on me and her six-year-old son, McCartney, got on the phone. Here is some of our conversation:

Me - Hey, McCartney! How are you?

Mc - I'm sorry to hear about your daddy dying.

Me - Thank you! That means alot!

Mc - I wanted to come to the funeral.

Me - I know. Your daddy and Nana told me. It was OK, though, that you didn't come.

Mc - Did you see your daddy dead?

Me - Yes.

Mc - Was there blood?

Me - No, he just went to sleep and then went to Heaven.

Mc - I don't see him (I'm guessing he was looking up cause I know he was outside; I heard a train whistle blow).

Me - Well, you probably can't see him. But he is up there with the angels and God.

Mc - Did the angels come get him?

Me - Yeah, they did.

Mc - When?

Me - Friday morning.

Mc - Hmmm ... hey .... do God and Jesus sleep?

Me - I don't think so, but what do you think?

Mc - I think they are WAYYYYYY too busy to sleep.

This was all from a kid who will enter first grade soon and already reads at a third-grade level and who declared, at 2, that "I IS a genius!" All of the folks eating at Dixie Castle that night thought his declaration was hilarious. I knew it was simply the truth.

And I still think so.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Remembering 'Wild Bill'

“Crusty” would most likely be the adjective William Sorrels would’ve used to describe himself if asked.

Not surprising to those who knew him best, I would’ve chosen the word “tenderhearted” to describe him instead. For within that skin, thickened by years of newspapering, beat the heart of one of the most caring individuals ever to cross my path thus far in life.

Mr. Sorrels’ booming voice often sounded gruff as he would bark orders down the hallways of the Cromwell Communications building on The W campus. Most of us figured out early on, though, that the roar was pretty much for show and slight intimidation; that even when he was at his sternest moment, you could still see that caring sparkle in his eyes.

We lovingly referred to Mr. Sorrels as “Wild Bill.” The name just kind of somehow fit the laid-back man who truly believed that each one of us could become a viable member of the newspaper community.

“There’s a feature in everyone,” Mr. Sorrels proclaimed during the first day of our feature writing class. “It’s just up to you to find it.”

And the search was on. Although I truly wanted to use his class to hone my journalistic skills, I also highly sought his approval of my writing. Most of the time, I received it. When I got off on a tangent of two or three word leads, though, he told me that maybe I should consider putting a little more thought – and wording – into my starting paragraph.

During the times I felt the least confident about my career path choice, “Wild Bill” would come up with some adage or words of encouragement to cheer me on.

“Jobe, it’s not rocket science,” he would often say to me as a large grin covered his wrinkling face.

Although I received my degree and was thrust out into the cold, cruel world, I wasn’t ever totally alone. From time to time I would answer the phone at work and a familiar voice on the other end would boom, “Jobe, what’s your lead story today?”

Being a firm believer in giving folks their accolades while they’re still around, I once got the opportunity to tell Mr. Sorrels how much his guidance meant to me both personally and professionally. Although I had a father, I told him how he was truly a father-figure in my life. He paused as if trying to come up with the exact response, and simply replied, “That means more to me than you will ever know.”

Although I never rose higher than a news editor for a community paper, Mr. Sorrels was as proud of me as if I were a member of some major metropolitan newspaper staff. Often he would read one of my “Impatience of Jobe” columns, photocopy it and send a personal note in the margins.

When we would get the opportunity from time to time to actually visit, Mr. Sorrels always wanted to “talk shop” first, but he never missed an opportunity to ask about my family and, specifically, how my personal life was going. He knew that being content with life made a writer even better and wanted to make sure I was content with mine.

Mr. Sorrels truly taught me how to view the world in a way no other person had before. Because of him, I took pride in writing even the most mundane stories because, like he taught us, every person deserves the opportunity to have their story told. To him, a life was worth more than just an obituary when it was over.

And I adopted that form of respect for others during my 23-year newspaper career.

Encouraging us to dream and do, Mr. Sorrels often made us believe we could do things others felt we could never achieve.

“Jobe, you really need to write a book,” Wild Bill would often say. I would just brush off the comment, stating that my column and the newspaper articles I wrote from time to time were fulfilling enough for me. If I ever do follow through and write a book, though, I have always known in my mind how the dedication will read.

Although he is no longer in this world, I can’t imagine Wild Bill ever at total rest. I’m sure by now he has interviewed almost everyone who has entered those gates of pearl since his arrival there Saturday. And I’m certain Mr. Sorrels has patted St. Peter on the back at least once, encouraging him to take his job – and his life - a bit easier.

“It’s not rocket science, St. Pete,” he’s said.

And I’m sure St. Peter simply smiled as he ushered Wild Bill into eternity.