Just about everyone who wrote a column in last week's edition of The Mirror used the opportunity to bid Publisher Jason Smith farewell and stroll down memory lane to cover his fine service here. For those who have been out-of-pocket the past month, Jason is now the VP of Communications for Joseph Still Burn Centers Inc.
Since it wasn't my turn to write a column and I missed the opportunity, I'll pick up with a column about the first Jason-less week. Here at The Mirror , it's been sad and quiet, unless you count all the questions we've been asking each other. We never realized how short our memory sticks were until there was no one here to yell across the room and ask. Jason was the most patient publisher, editor and boss I've ever worked for. He also was the most colorful, and I'm not just referring to his blue pants with red flags all over them. He had a way with words, and kept everyone laughing. He laughed the most, though. And the loudest. For a person whose job was supposed to be stressful, hearty laughter that often changed to hysterics and phased out to low, amused chuckles frequently came from his office.
When I first came to The Mirror , it was my first full-time job after being a stay-at-home mom for 15 years. Except for the free-lancing I did, my world revolved around ball practices, in-line skates and trying to serve more carrots than chocolate chip cookies. Having Jason as my boss to transition me from Neosporin-on-knees to notes-on-news was definitely a blessing from God.
Fortunately, my new interim publisher is also a blessing because I've worked for him before. Barry Paschal is serving as The Mirror 's publisher until a new one is hired. I wrote for Barry long before I wrote for Jason. He definitely knows what he's doing, as is obvious from the success of his paper, The Columbia County News-Times , and he's really easy to talk to and work with. And he's no stranger to McDuffie County. In fact, when he met with us last week, Barry told us he was born in the McDuffie hospital. That explains where that "down-home, friendly" personality comes from.
I was the recipient of some other down-home hospitality last week also, when I met with some residents of the Thomson Housing Authority. They showed me their garden (see the story on Page 1B) and loaded me down with the fruits of their labors. Actually, they were vegetables, but I like 'em just as much. My taste buds thank them. And if you're craving something sweet, visit the Housing Authority office on Thursdays and Fridays, when they have a bake sale to raise funds for their trips. Your taste buds will smile, too.