Most of us remember the daily radio program called, “The Rest of the Story,” hosted by the immortal Paul Harvey. Even though Mr. Harvey’s voice was so smooth and unique, he could probably have read the ingredients for Mom’s sugar cookies and I would have listened,
I always loved the show as he so eloquently related a story about a famous event or person and added that little extra to make it…well…the rest of the story.
I was reminded of this show because of what happened after our morning coffee group met, last week, to celebrate the 82nd birthday of one the regulars. Even though Ronnie has attained a ripe old age, he is probably in better physical shape than me, but…I’m beginning to worry about his mind.
Ronnie, besides being a good friend, is a regular and loyal reader of my column so I was a little surprised when he called me aside, after we had enjoyed a piece of his cake to ask, “Jerry, when did your column start getting so short?” He then went on to add, “And, not to be too critical, but your last story didn’t make any sense to me.”
Even though he is not the first person to tell me one of my stories didn’t make much sense, I assured him that the length of my column had remained unchanged for several years – usually between 500 and 600 words.
“Well, the paper I got last week had your column in it and it was only this long,” he stated, as he held his index finger and thumb about 4-inches apart.
Not knowing which magazine or newspaper he had read, I told him that sometimes the editors of some publications would shorten or otherwise edit the column, to fit the space they had available that month. I encouraged him to bring it with him the next day.
Ronnie was already there when I arrived the next morning. “Look at it yourself,” he fussed. “I’m not making things up.”
That particular publication has printed my column since its inception some 20 years ago, and routinely places the first part on page three, with the last few paragraphs continued within a space that is located a few pages later. Ronnie was pointing to the second part of my column, situated on page 5, which was, indeed, about four inches long.
“I know you’ve just turned 82,” I said while turning back one page toward the front and pointing to my picture and the title, “but you might try putting on your reading glasses for the next issue.”
“I’ll be danged,” he sighed.
Then, in my best Paul Harvey impersonation, I added, “Ronnie, now you have…the rest of the story.