Jun 042024

Before we get to today’s blog, I want to wish our son Travis happy birthday. We love you very much, son, and we are very proud of you.

This being an election year, I think a lot of readers will enjoy this story from my days publishing small town newspapers.

You might think that a small town newspaper publisher’s world pretty much ended at the city limits, or no further than the county. And for the most part, you would be right. And I was always content with that. As one of my mentors in the business told me when I was first starting out, it’s better to be a big fish in a small pond than the other way around.

However, my world expanded every two years with statewide elections, when those running for state offices came around soliciting my newspaper’s endorsement for their campaigns. And occasionally, I heard from candidates seeking an office on the national level. Three times presidential candidates made sweeps through our area, hitting up the local media asking for support.

One such individual, who shall remain nameless, was a U.S. Senator who was running for president. His people called my office saying they would be in the area and asked if he could have some time while they were there. I didn’t really think much about the man one way or the other and I didn’t want to be bothered with him, or any politician, for that matter. I always remember, what my Mama told me when I was a kid, if you lie down with dogs, you’re going to get fleas. However, Jake Cavey, my editor, was a big fan of this particular candidate, and he was ecstatic when I assigned him the job of doing the interview. For two weeks, he was like a kid waiting for Christmas morning.

When the big day came, said senator arrived, shaking everybody’s hand in the office and saying how glad he was to meet us. Since Jake didn’t have a private office, I told him to use mine for the interview. They went inside and closed the door and were in there an hour or so. When they were finished, they came out the door like a couple of drinking buddies, laughing and having a grand old time. The senator slapped Jake on the back and thanked him for his time, then nodded at a case hanging on my wall with my Army medals, saying, “As one old veteran to another, I know I have your endorsement, right, Jake? Jake replied, “Senator, you definitely have my vote, but those are Nick’s and he owns the newspaper. He’s the one who will make the final decision about who we will endorse.”

Now, Jake was a big guy, somewhere around 6’6” and close to 440 pounds as I recall, and the senator was average in height, or maybe a little less. But he shoved Jake out of the way so hard that he bounced off one of the light tables we used for laying out the newspaper to get to me, and began pumping my hand, and telling me how great it was to have the opportunity to see me and how much he knew that us veterans would be sticking together come election time. Then he and his entourage were gone as quickly as they arrived, never even bothering to say goodbye to Jake. Politicians. Go figure.

Jake was devastated! His hero had blown him off as soon as he found out he would not be the one making the decision on our newspaper’s endorsement. He walked around for the rest of the afternoon with a hangdog look on his face, and I really felt sorry for the big guy.

Trying to ease his pain a little bit, Melissa, my office manager, patted him on the back and said, “Don’t feel bad, Jake. You didn’t do anything wrong. It’s just about the pecking order, and everybody knows that Nick is a bigger pecker than you are!”

And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us.

Thought For The Day – Marriage is where two people who don’t have it all together learn that together they have it all.

Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  2 Responses to “Newspaper Days – The Pecking Order”

  1. I think Melissa would have been a fun gal to hang around 😂

  2. She was, Ali. Funny and smart, too. She came to us as a college intern and never left.

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