Sunday, February 24, 2008

Viva La Tribune

Dear Quinn,

When the day comes that you become old enough to read this, you probably won't remember most of the faces in the picture above. Except mine, naturally.

I will tell you that they were Daddy's former co-workers at the Albuquerque Tribune, that most of them held you at one point, welcomed you into a newsroom for the first time, and listened with interest every time I bragged about the most minor of milestones you achieved.

I will tell you that they were remarkable, each and every one. They were dedicated to a level of excellence that inspired your Daddy to be the best at what he does, to learn to truly love journalism. To some it's merely a vocation, but Daddy learned from these people above that it should be much, much more than that.

I will tell you that these people and your Daddy were part of a newspaper that died. It died after 86 years to causes that, I hope, will be history once you come to make career decisions of your own.

We watched it die, you and I. You were the little one in the plastic fire hat, trundling through the newsroom like an off-kilter conqueror, exploring whatever came around each corner. I was the bearded adult male, unable to fathom or hold back the wave of emotion caused by some 66 pages of newsprint and fresh ink.

I will tell you I cried on your shoulder that day, the last day of a great newspaper, because I could no longer fight back those tears. And because I knew it would be the last time I -- and you -- would be gathered around these great people inside a newsroom.

Finally, I will tell you that I miss these people dearly for reasons that will be purely nostalgic. Because this time in Daddy's life will likely be among the most challenging and the most rewarding.

So, my young man, should you grow up to some day follow in your father's footsteps, I hope you would be able to do it alongside people of similar fiber. I pray that you would show the same commitment they did at the smallest of papers, in the hardest of times.

With love,

Your Daddy

Friday, February 08, 2008

The super delegate

While Daddy's past two weeks revolved around people named Obama and Clinton, Cap'n Quinn was hanging out in Amish country, spreading a little cuteness around.

Daddy wonders whether cuteness is a better campaign tactic than resplendent oratory or a sound health care policy.

Quinn certainly won the Amish vote. Maybe it will work for Barack.

Our little hero is back now, and Daddy wonders whether there are some progressive qualities in air travel, as if time spent at 30,000 feet helps strengthen the legs or locate a center of gravity or mature hair follicles. Because the good Cap'n came back from his week-and-a-half trip to Grandma and Grandpa Smith's house with a nearly-full head of hair and an unbending confidence on two feet.

Mommy left with a baby. She came back with a little boy.

I'm not surprised that she may not notice all this the way I do. These changes happened slowly, before her eyes, at a pace that's impossible to track without the aid of elapsed time.

That time elapsed for Daddy slowly. He missed his best buddy.

But Quinn is back now, and Daddy finds himself hearing a lot these days about ballots and delegates.

And super delegates.

Super, like the little guy running around our house on two feet.

The one with a full head of hair.

Hanging out with Great-grandma Crissman.

Keeping an eye on Mommy.

"Yeah, I'm handsome. What's it to ya?"

Fun with Grandma Smith.

The dirty laundry.