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On Second Thought

It’s anniversary month
Thursday, September 5, 2019
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Beyond doing odd jobs at the newspaper growing up, my first real job was a customer service clerk at the City of Iowa Park, a job I got the day I graduated high school.

I learned a lot in that job, including 10-key, how to count back change and how to take a substantial amount of verbal abuse from taxpayers. I also worked with people whom I still consider great friends today.

A little more than a year later, I got a call that one of the employees at the Leader had been injured and would require an extended amount of time off. I quit my job at the city and began my now 35-year career this week at the Iowa Park Leader.

And what a privilege it has been.

In these 35 years at the newspaper and 50 years in Iowa Park, I have had the unique opportunity to be immersed in this community in a way few have.

I also have a lifetime of memories in a newspaper family - the smell of newsprint at the printing plant; family vacations to newspaper conventions all over this great state instead of to the Grand Canyon where everyone else was going; talking politics at breakfast when you’re four and having the chance to meet a couple United State Presidents as well as a few First Ladies and Texas Governors.

I remember important stories the Iowa Park Leader covered when I was still too young to realize their gravity.

But the best part? The best part has been the people in this community - a man named Horace Banks who would drive his lawn mower downtown to the Leader office when I was little and the time he fixed my mom’s pencil holder; Margaret Soell who was my Camp Fire leader when I was seven and broke it to me as gently as possible that I “have a voice that carries;” the generations of volunteer firemen who have kept our community safe for decades and for no pay.

In my mind, I have a catalog of teachers, police officers, small shop owners and local characters who continually make Iowa Park who we are - which is a pretty good place to grow up and to work.

I’ve seen the generosity of a small community in others’ times of need during numerous fund-raisers. I know people - and count them as friends - who make it their business to make sure hungry people are fed every month in Iowa Park.

I am in awe of these givers, and I truly believe I’ve seen the very best of Iowa Park.

The community newspaper is a beautiful lens through which we look at our community, with any luck.

Of course, with life being funny like it is, not all news is good news. We report that, too. But after 50 years, when I look through the 2,600 weekly issues of the Leader I can see the birth of the next generation ... and the next ... and the next, and I am so glad we have had the unique and rare privilege of recording it in a meaningful way.

As an anniversary gift to me, if you feel so moved, I ask that you donate money or food to the Iowa Park Food Pantry. Also, subscribe to your community newspaper. We’re pretty decent people and we love the people and towns we cover.