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Not a year passed in the 18 years I worked alongside Mrs. Betty Shearer that she didn’t remind the readers that the Herald staff labors on Labor Day. Unless it falls on the Fourth of July, Christmas or New Year’s Day, Mondays are for working if the Herald is going to make the Tuesday afternoon print deadline.
Mrs. Betty would always provide a stern warning to customers who came in the Tuesday morning after Labor Day (or any other Monday holiday) wanting something in the paper. I can hear her saying it now, “Deadline was Monday at 5 p.m. and we were here.” She would usually relent and squeeze in their announcement or ad, and a lengthy conservation would follow about kids, grandkids or anything else.
In the old days, Betty and Ed would knock off a little early and enjoy a Labor Day picnic at Enid Lake – enjoying a final summer outing.
Now the staff is smaller and I am the only one in the office on Monday holidays. Every job has an important routine, and in the newspaper business Mondays and Tuesdays include a lot of computer time working on stories and placing content on pages.
Admittedly walking in the office when the parking spaces up and down Main Street are mostly vacant is a little disheartening, it hasn’t been the same since Mrs. Betty left us. But I wasn’t alone on Main Street, Ron Hart and Craig Hart at Midtown were also hard at it Monday morning.
A holiday work day can be a drag, but one fun thing about my job is every week is different. When a paper is printed on Tuesday night and delivered the next morning, we start the week with a clean slate. I enjoy interacting with different people each week for stories or pictures. Last Thursday I was on a simple assignment to photograph the winner of grocery raffle for the Water Valley Masonic Lodge #8. It turned into a fun gig when I called the winner of the $300 grocery raffle.
Lavert Hawkins first tried to reach Terry Anthony, but Hawkins’ cell number wasn’t local. Lavert asked me to try, and Terry answered immediately.
I told Terry who I was in most official newspaper voice and paused just for a second to keep him curious. Then I asked him if he knew what ticket number he had purchased for the Mason’s grocery raffle. He went to digging for his ticket before I explained that was a trick question.
“You are the lucky winner,” I told Terry.
“Yee haw,” Terry Anthony exclaimed as all within earshot smiled.
Terry was only a few minutes from the grocery store and readily agreed to come pick up his gift card and pose for a picture. We laughed when he got to Larson’s Cash Saver as he admitted he was a little curious when I called. The only thing he could think of was that his subscription may have lapsed.
“I know my wife renewed it, I couldn’t imagine why the Herald was calling,” Terry said.
The winning ticket was for $300 in groceries from Larson’s Cash Saver. The employees at the grocery store were tickled that Terry won, as he is a regular shopper there and they all enjoy seeing him in the store.
As I was leaving the store, I thought about the excitement of winning a door prize, raffle or anything else. It doesn’t have to be a big prize, it is just something about winning. Let me tell you, that is not from first-hand experience. I never had any luck winning a raffle or door prize.
It made me recall one of my favorite episodes of the Andy Griffith when Barney Fife labeled townsman Henry Bennett a jinx. Andy comes to the rescue as Bennett threatens to leave town.
The guise was a rigged door prize at a church social as the entire town conspired to help. A hat was filled with pieces of paper, all with the same winning number for the door prize. The plan was for each person to pull a number out of the hat, and when the winning number was announced nobody would say anything and Bennett would claim the prize with his “winning” number.
The only problem, the label inside the hat came loose and Bennett pulled it out instead of the winning number.
Reminds me of the old saying, if it wasn’t for bad luck, some us would not have any luck at at!