On Tuesday I was sitting in my easy chair watching the noon news, something I do most days so I'll have an idea of what's going in the world before I head to work. I find it prevents little exchanges like this:
Editor: "Obviously, we're going page one with the earthquake."
Me: "What earthquake?"
You can substitute your favorite big news story, but you get the idea.
Anyway, Tuesday the big news - at least to me - was my mother.
Gwinnett County police held a community meeting Monday night in Mountain Park to discuss some recent crimes committed in the area. My mother called me at work to see if the Post was covering it. (I've also found that news is not only whatever happens in journalists' neighborhoods. It's also whatever happens in our mommas' neighborhoods.)
Anyway, I was pretty busy when Momma called, but I told her we were covering the meeting, she said she was going, and we hung up. I thought that was the end of it.
Then Tuesday, I'm watching WSB, and they're doing a story on the Mountain Park meeting. Here's what happened next in my head:
Hey, that's the meeting we had on our front page today. Let's see how they cover it on TV. I wonder if my mother went, like she said she would. Hey, that looks like the back of Daddy's head. I guess they did go. Here's the requisite citizen soundbite. Hey, that woman looks ... HOLY COW, THAT'S MY MOMMA!
Yep, right there in living color was a giant-sized version of Momma's head, taking up all 27 or 37 or 77 or however many inches across our TV screen. Momma, the retired teacher, talking to a TV reporter about how you never think it'll happen in your neighborhood.
I called her a few minutes later, of course. She didn't even know she'd been on television. They hadn't used her clip the previous night, she said, so she figured they'd cut it. I had TiVo'd it though, so I put the phone up to the television and played it for her. I think she was a little proud and a little embarrassed. But I thought she did a great job. She was clear, concise and made her point quickly. You know, the opposite of a lot of clowns on the tube.
And so continues a tradition of people on my mother's side of the family finding their way into the news, either making it or reporting it.
I guess it starts with Granny. She took up nearly a full page of her local paper in Mississippi when they chose to feature her and her recipes many years ago.
Somewhere my mother has an old newspaper clipping of my granddaddy, the deputy sheriff, posing with a bunch of other deputies and law enforcement officers in front of a moonshine operation they'd busted.
Then there's my sister, whose picture appeared in a magazine article about Mother's Day several years ago.
My Aunt Beth has the coolest stories, though. She was a reporter, and, at one time, a television weather girl. Aunt Beth flew with the Blue Angels and interviewed Steve McQueen, The Coolest Man Who Ever Lived, and then went for a ride on the back of his motorcycle.
And of course I'm here every week, entertaining you, or annoying you, as the case may be.
So now that you've been in the news, Momma, I'd like to welcome you to the club. But here's a couple of things to remember:
First, the rest of us have kept it positive. So far, none of us have turned up in the paper or on TV under the word "wanted." Please keep it that way.
And second, now that you've been in the spotlight, you don't need to worry about telling a bunch of people about it.
I've already taken care of that.
E-mail Nate McCullough at firstname.lastname@example.org. His column appears on Fridays.