Something To Chew On
November 20-26, 2017
By Becca Bona
Hot, humid and sticky, the Arkansas heat bore down on the crowded parking lot during that particularly sultry day in the summer of 2010.
It’s hard to believe that was a mere seven – almost eight – years ago.
What’s not hard to believe is that I was a little late on the first day of the job as I internally battled with myself over the simplest of tasks – opening the door.
To be fair, I was a little younger, completely inexperienced, and the definition of timid.
I’m not sure what Jay Edwards, my boss-to-be, resident Daily Record Editor-in-Chief, was thinking at the time as I scuttled through the door. I greeted him with a, “Reporting for duty, sir,” followed by an awkward cross between a curtsy and a bow.
If I were him, I would have rolled my eyes and dropped a stack of busy work in my direction.
Instead, he took pity on me and gave me a writing assignment. And I took it with the gusto that only an introverted writer will.
A mere five minutes after I turned my assignment in, he quickly came back to my desk.
“You have a minute? We need to discuss this piece.”
I could feel the color taking over my face at the fear of being found out a no-good fake on the first day of the job. We went to one of the glass-enclosed offices and Jay shut the door.
I figured I’d set a new record for being fired from an internship in less than an hour.
In response to his, “How long have you been writing? We’ve got to get you some more assignments, ASAP,” I just squeaked, eyes staring blankly, unable to make full sentences.
I was completely unprepared for his response, but it turned out to be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
I continued with the Record throughout college, coming home in the summers from Hendrix to see what exciting challenges Jay had for me next.
I watched closely as he conducted interviews, taking notes on what questions to ask (and more importantly) which questions to avoid.
I laughed out loud each week at his humorous “Are We There Yet” column and realized just how difficult it is to craft a funny line.
I tried to take cues from him when we covered events, but I couldn’t figure out just how he knew everyone in this town, along with their mother, brother, and sister, too.
It all comes down to one fact – he’s a likeable guy, and one of the best storytellers I have the privilege to know and call mentor.
When I signed on after college at the paper full-time, I didn’t realize that I had found my work family. It took me going out and trying new things to realize that. When I was recently offered the Publisher position, I was overjoyed, but then immediately conflicted. My initial thought was, “What about Jay?”
I only agreed to come back to the team if it was ok with my teammate who helped me get here and who continually helps me tell the punch-line right.
And don’t worry. You can keep up with his column as he’ll continue to write it now and again.
So, dear readers, this is my big hello. I have met many of you, but hope to meet many more.
In this bimonthly column I’m going to focus on food tidbits – everything from recipe shares to food news with local chefs and more.
I’ll let Virginia Woolf be my guide: “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”
Until next time, drop me a line at Becca@dailydata.com and say hello.