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Press job is fond memory of good friend

I lost a good friend from Virginia recently. Jimmy Waskey and I lived around the corner from each other and worked together in the mailroom of The Hopewell News for maybe 6 years.

We took a printing class together our junior year and there was an old Multilith 1,250-sheet-fed press sitting in the corner gathering dust. We asked Mr. Bailey what was wrong with it and he told us it hadn't fed the paper correctly in years. So naturally we asked if we could take a whack at fixing it.

We tore the paper side of that press down to the frame. A couple of things were so worn out or broken we had the metal shop fabricate some replacements. It didn't take long before "Red," as he allowed us to call him, knew we were serious and would not let anyone near that press because, "that press belongs to Waskey and Rainwater."

As always, taking the thing apart is easy, getting it back together was tricky. After several days we thought we had it back together only to realize we had some leftover parts and it turns out they were important ones. We both just looked at each other and started laughing knowing exactly what we had done wrong. We had to take the thing completely apart again.

By the end of the year we had that press running like a top and I remember Waskey and I ran into Red several years after graduation and he told us it was still the best press in the shop. Fond memories with a good friend.

On a much lighter note, some mockingbirds have taken refuge around the house. I had heard a few things fly past my head recently but never paid much attention. Mockingbirds are well known to be fiercely protective of their nests.

When I take my poodle out for a break, I noticed they were paying a lot of attention to his every movement. They didn't give him a hard time but the more I took him out the quicker they set up the perimeter, watching over their 'prey'. Then the dive bombing started, swooping down over his head and scaring the daylights out of him.

We have nicknamed this dog the Joe Pesci of the dog world; he is tiny but thinks he is a big dog. Just grab his back leg and you'll see for yourself, it sounds as though he is trying to kill you but he never bites, I swear. So when the birds began annoying him, usually he'd growl and jump as high as he could trying to catch this feisty creature. Naturally this became some great entertainment for me and I often took him out when I knew he didn't need to.

On one such trip he noticed a bird on the ground about 20 feet away. After a couple of cat like steps, he bolts and jumps about 3 feet in the air, just barely missing him. As he trots back to the patio, this same bird swoops down and literally pokes him in the rear. Of course, he growls.

Then they made the mistake of double-teaming him and there is one Mockingbird that don't sing anymore. That was one proud dog prancing around the back yard with that bird in his mouth. I kinda got the feeling he was sending a message to the others to back off or this will be you next time. Surprisingly, they are not as quick to get in striking position.

Web posted on Thursday, July 15, 2010

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