Sorry for the long absence on the blog today. It was a busy one.
I was the keynote luncheon speaker for the the Roanoke Kiwanis Club (which is one of the largest and most active of 8,000 Kiwanis clubs on planet Earth).
It’s a fantastic organization that performs many valuable service projects in the Roanoke Valley. They filled the ballroom at the old Patrick Henry Hotel for yours truly, which was quite humbling.
Steve McGraw, the clerk of court in Salem, kicked it off by presenting me with a T-shirt from the world-famous Texas Tavern. Then my close friend, Manly Aylor, introduced me and deftly avoided any mention of the numerous skeletons in my closet. Mayor David Bowers, another Kiwanis stalwart who I endorsed in the recent election, sent his regrets that he couldn’t be there.
I talked a little bit about where I get my column ideas (from everywhere, and everyone); then told them the story of “The Day Pat Robertson’s Bodyguard Pulled a Gun on Me” (which I have written about on this blog, and which is one of my favorite adventures in journalism).
That one got a lot of laughs.
And then, I read to them just a few of the love letters and hate letters (and blog posts) to Dan that I receive. Those actually number in the hundreds of thousands, no kidding, which also is quite humbling.
So anyway I talked for about 40 minutes in all, most of it off the cuff. And I wrapped the whole deal up with a few words from the blogger “Al,” who has written vividly about the column I write three days per week.
That dude Al, whoever he is, has got the market cornered in terms of flamboyantly negative descriptions of my work. I love him for it. It’s one of the things that motivates me every morning of every day. In case you don’t remember the gem that “Al” wrote, here it is, once again:
“For me, your column is like a sharp stick poked in the eye … a habanero enemina[sic] administered with a 40 foot long barbed wire wrapped hose … a wisdom tooth extracted sans pain killers through the ear.”
No kidding, that brought down the house at the Kiwanis luncheon.
Al, if you are still out there, I want to thank you again, and I mean that sincerely. I laugh my head off every time I read that, or even think about it. And the good folks in the Roanoke Kiwanis Club did, too. Some day, somebody will design a habanero enema T-shirt and present it to me, and I will cherish it greatly.
And then I had to head off to an administrative hearing, the subject of which will Thursday’s column.
I got back to the office around 4:30, which gave me about 30 minutes to write and file Thursday’s column. When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro –right?
Stay tuned for that, about a little guy getting stomped by the bureaucracy. It’s a pretty good one.
And thanks (again!) to you all for reading. And to Al!