“Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something.” – Plato
By gosh, it’s good to be sitting on the ‘ol front porch this morning, as summer winds its way to a close. It truly is my happy place. I’ve been pretty much laid up this last year, and this 70-year old body doesn’t heal up as quickly as it once did. I’m seated at our little table for two – where Janey, my lovely wife and best friend for the past 46 years sometimes enjoy our evening meal.
Currently, however, it’s morning and I’m alone, with a steaming mug of hot black coffee and my laptop to keep me company. The reason for the coffee is self-explanatory. The Laptop? Well, that has to do with a phone call I received recently. A few days ago, our friend, Greg Lemon, who also happens to be the editor of The Madisonian, rang me up to ask if I’d be interested in doing some writing for the paper once again, after being away for the last year or so. I readily agreed to; but before I said yes, I thought now might be a good time to renegotiate my salary. In other words, I was going to play a little hardball and try to get a pay raise out of Mister Big Shot Editor.
It didn’t work out as well as I’d hoped. In fact, when I inquired as to my pay package (He laughed when I called it a ‘pay package.’), he said I’d have to take a $5 per column pay cut. He then went on to inform me that unemployment in this country was still very high. He added that, not only is it high, out of work journalists are among the top members of those unemployed.
At any rate, I didn’t get the pay raise. Instead, I’m relying on the timeworn adage that states that half a loaf is better than none. For now, I’ll just keep on writing, thankful that the Good Lord sees fit to continue giving me the gift of days. That is payment enough for this old-time hack writer.
Meantime, if you ever find yourself on Missouri Avenue in Deer Lodge, Montana, drive east a ways and you’ll find two people on their front porch, enjoying the last vestiges of summer. I’ll be the one hunting and pecking my thoughts onto my laptop. My sweet wife will be the one admonishing me not to say anything foolish.
Until we visit again, Peace and Love from our house to yours.
Mike McMahon is three-time winner of the Montana Newspaper Association’s Columnist of the Year award. He lives in Deer Lodge with his wife Jane where he’s working on his third book of anecdotes dreamt up while sitting on his front porch swing.