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Hearing from a King

Russell Langham has become a morning person.

Basic training, apparently, will do that to you.

Russell recently graduated from basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Tex. His days started early, 3 a.m. sometimes, but he made it through and recently arrived home for a short stay.

He may end up wishing he was back in basic. Russell is getting married this weekend, the culmination of a whirlwind break between the end of basic training and the beginning of his first assignment. The wedding is Saturday; the return trip to Texas is slated to start a few days later.

At some point, maybe he'll understand the first lesson of being married: the real basic training has only begun. And wives can make tough drill sergeants.

As for me, I still don't do mornings very well.

Just ask the staff of Thomson High School's student newspaper, The Bulldog Bark.

I've spent more than a dozen mornings this school year with them, working on their stories, talking about the newspaper business and building a few good friendships.

This week marks the final time for this school year that work from The Bulldog Bark staff will appear in the pages of The McDuffie Mirror. And I'm sad to see it go.

I'm very proud that Thomson High agreed to allow us to republish the students' work and share it with those outside the school. I've been honored to work with the students and can't wait for us to get started again next school year.

Hopefully, for my sake, the newspaper class will be scheduled in the afternoon, when the Mountain Dew is flowing freely in my veins, my mind is fairly clear and a smile is on my face.

Speaking of smiles, some of you might have noticed mine last week. You can thank The King for that.

When I walked into work last Monday, there was the customary stack of weekend mail in my chair. I sorted it into the normal three stacks -- resumes, newspaper submissions, junk. Two envelopes didn't have a pile -- one contained a request from Italy for a copy of The Mirror and the other was from Arnold Palmer.

I'll pause and let you read that last section again.

Yes, that Arnold Palmer.

In the beige envelope was a simple note on Mr. Palmer's personal stationary, thanking me for the kind words in this space just a few weeks ago and for being a proud member of his "Army."

Part of the thrill was knowing that Mr. Palmer somehow got his hands on a copy of The Mirror. But the majority of it was knowing that a someone of his stature would take the time to send a short, personal note like that.

The fact that one of golf's greatest took the time to send a thank you note says more about the man than anything I could ever put in the paper. The note just reinforced my opinion of Mr. Palmer: He's a gentleman, a legend and a model of what everyone -- famous or not -- should strive to be.

Now, excuse me while I go back to smiling.

Web posted on Thursday, May 13, 2004

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