Aphids, Andrew Zimmern and news – a natural connection …

One would be hard pressed to figure out the connection between aphids and local news. There really isn’t any, but it makes for a good letter to the kids. I’m tardy in posting the April 18 letter but will hop on it later this week.

April 28, 2016

Ellen/Reid: As I polished off a dinner of arugula and romaine from the back yard container pot, I looked down to see crawly things at the bottom of the empty bowl. They were little green aphids – a lot of them, a few dozen – mired in the homemade vinaigrette. It meant that some number, I have no idea how many, were ingested. The lettuce got a watering about 20 minutes before it was picked and my assumption, which turned out to be faulty, was that this was enough cleansing. There was no gagging or anything like that. It was just a non-TV version of Andrew Zimmern’s Bizarre Foods. I thought if he could eat slugs or beetles from Asia, a few aphids wouldn’t hurt me. What the lettuce crop needs is a full-on attack by predatory Lady Bugs to decimate the aphid infestation.

Really having a lot of fun with the Mint Hill Times newspaper job. But it has evolved into nearly a full time proposition which is well beyond the 8 – 12 hours per week originally thought. It’s been 8 – 10 hours per day, with much of it in Mint Hill, about a 20 mile drive away, to drum up news and get to know the towns folk. I really enjoy it, but the hours are killing me. Tuesday started at 9 a.m. and didn’t end until


Even a scarecrow on sentry duty east of Mint Hill, North Carolina is fair game for ‘spot news.’ The problem is, my brain just doesn’t turn off when it comes to thinking about, pondering, or mulling over potential stories. I love the job, but …

1 a.m. Wednesday morning to help with page layout. Reid, I pitched in using InDesign even though I’d never laid hands on it before. I’ve been writing a lot, gladly so, and trying to assign a lot of stories. We are woefully short on local writers. I penned an editor’s column asking for writers to come out of the woodwork and since this week’s issue doesn’t hit the streets until this morning there’s no way of knowing who will answer the bell. It will be a while before my stamp shows on the paper and it’ll be a few months until it’s fully formed in that regard. There’s still no contract on the table. That’s a bit disconcerting. The thing that is really bothersome is the hours and giving up my Sundays since that is when copy is due. There’s also a ways to go on organization about who does what and when. It’s a paper and email intensive process with lots of moving sand from one pile to another. To be truthful, it’s the hardest I’ve worked in a long time but I keep thinking of your grandfather who called his time at the Sundance Times and Crook County News in the late 1940s-early 1950s as the best job he ever had.

I’m in the process of trying to pass off my Meetup.com golf group, Golf for One, to someone else. There have been no real takers. June 1 is my hard and fast deadline. If no one steps up, the group will fade away completely. It’s sad in some ways but it’s just time for someone else to step up to run the thing. I just want to show up and play golf instead of herd cats.

Wow, Emma is going to be – 4 years old? It just doesn’t seem possible. It really doesn’t. She is just a total little goofball. Really, our FaceTimes are just hysterical. So much movement, so much noise, so much utter chaos. But it shouldn’t be any other way. Ellen, I do need gift ideas, stat. I still have your boxes of coffee beans sitting on a chair. Damn, I’ve got to get that to you guys.

This last abysmal fishing failure – 11 hours on the water with nothing to show for it – was just brutal. What made it worse was there were two good old boys not 25 yards from me pulling in gigantic sheepshead and yelping about it non-stop: ‘Joe Bob, how many you got?’ ‘Shit, I lost count, Billy. 10, maybe 12. This is the best day we’ve ever had. And nobody else is catching nuthin’.’ That was the killer. They were using small crabs – I was stuck with cut mullet and dead shrimp – so when they left I skittered over, pried open some live oysters and finally caught a few sheepshead myself but nothing keeper size. It was completely, utterly, totally deflating. I was literally muttering out loud to myself. Reid, I saw Cap’n Tripp later and he said it had been really slow which was a little bit of salve on the open wounds. But at least I’m getting my hands around scraping oysters out of their shells, so maybe next time it’ll be my turn to crow. I just wish you were here to join me.

Love, Dad


Leave a comment

Filed under Writing to adult children

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s