Olaf Fub sez: Just a minute, here. Who this really is, is Dale Anderson. I've followed Reporters' Notebook over the years and it seemed that this column was designed to be the province of the oldest reporter in the newsroom, or at least one of the oldest reporters. Now, with the passing of Lonnie Hudkins, who oversaw it since 1982, it looks like that's me.
Like all of Lonnie's projects, he poured quite a bit of care and concern into it … he even would fax it in from home when he was on vacation. So, as the new proprietor, my guiding principle is to respect his memory by respecting his methodology. Reporters' Notebook will do the same things it's been doing for all these years … the announcements, the poems, the birthdays, the pithy proverbs.
But like any new proprietor, I may find it hard to resist doing a few home improvements. Mostly it would be like caulking the windows, nailing down a loose floorboard and putting on a new coat of paint … the same color, but perhaps a slightly different shade. There's one change already, which I'll bet few of you have noticed. I'm tying in the leadoff quote to a historic birthday, something that would have been a lot harder to do back in the days before the Internet.
Meanwhile, I'm beginning to appreciate how interactive Reporters' Notebook is. A lot of it depends on what gets submitted for it. So, if you have suggestions, observations or things that just plain need some attention, e-mail them along to email@example.com or send a letter to Reporters' Notebook at Box 100, Buffalo, NY 14240. I can't guarantee that all of them will get into the paper, but I'll do my best to accommodate everything that will fit.
As for poems, the amount of space that the layout editors allow for the column makes it difficult, if not impossible, to print a verse that runs longer than eight or 10 lines. Maybe we should go for some original limericks (G-rated ones only, please, if you're moved to write some).
However, there's a lot of room here on the Web site, isn't there? Let's put it to use with something that's a bit long for the printed column, but just right for this space … a tribute to Lonnie that came in from one of his regular poetic contributors, Doris V. Neumann of the Town of Tonawanda:
A FOND FAREWELL
Heaven is a little brighter
Since you have come to dwell
You left your footprints in the sand …
Yes, Lon, you served us well.
I hear a lovely melody
Beyond the skies of blue
They welcome you with open arms
Yes, Lon, we sure miss you.
Beyond the blue horizon
You staunchly take your stand;
We cannot comprehend it all …
Some day we'll understand.
Au revoir, Lonnie.