The View from Writers Roost
Jan 16, 2014 | 1502 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
THERE ARE many reasons I refer to my wife Julie as Life Mate other than the obvious reference to longevity of cohabitation.

She is a very gifted writer and recognizes the prerequisites for inspired creativity. Ahem.

Plus, we have raised a son some of whose prominent proclivities are similar to those of his Mom.

We’ve been in the retirement mode now for six-plus years, but 18 months ago, Life Mate and Son “conspired” to move us closer to him so, as I half-kidding describe the arrangements, he’ll only have to drive 5-6 minutes instead of a like number of hours in order to put me in an “old folks” home.

(Son’s in the real estate binniss here and he’s a cracker-jack. Cares about his clients. His momma did us proud in raising him).

Previous owner(s) of our little bungalow, took a former back patio and walled it in, wisely installing nine windows and a door, extending to a new covered patio area, and adding another open “slabbed” spot. The enclosed patio we rehabbed into my “man cave”/work area.

WHEN DUTY calls, I’m tabbed for physical skills such as moving the cooker/barbecue grill out onto the open slab spot in good weather or, if this region’s “liquid sunshine” dictates, under the covered area, where I hold forth as the chief meat-turner a la my “specially-purchased,” outsized grill tool set.

But, I digress. Back to my “man cave” and its functionality (that’s a good life style-decorator term, isn’t it?).

The aforementioned windows, venetian-blind covered, provide lots of light for tasking at the Apple MacIntosh (I’ve always been a “Mac Man”). There are a couple of file cabinets in the Man Cave and two such drawers in this heavy, custom-built thing I call a desk.

THERE ARE three bookcases/shelves making room for some of our books and a flat screen TV where Son and I can watch sports. If the noise bothers Life Mate, she can close the sliding door and wall us off as we dissolve into man-cave antics, while she watches some weepy movie. Ick!

Our reading interests are fairly diverse and the shelves reflect that. Mysteries are prominent mixed with some historical novels, biographies and even some old Will Rogers offerings. Humor is a daily “fix” need in our household and that’s reflected as well in the book case display.

Of course, there’s a special section for my hero and friend, Leon Hale, whose 11 books are proudly displayed. However, one task remains for that segment. A few of his books are unsigned, so a special trip to Leon’s country place is in the offing.

Pride comes into play in such a room as the Man Cave.

Awards are the principal feelings-on-the-sleeve (wall in this case) of the Man Cave.

Over more than half a century in newspaper editing and publishing, awards gratefully came with some regularity. Most of them were left at various newspapers where I made stops, so they could be displayed to reflect the overall staff and company effort it takes to produce a quality product.

THERE’S A miniature statue of a newsboy holding up a paper while selling it on the street. The full-size sculpture adorns the entry to the Texas Press Association building in Austin. The replica was presented at my retirement. Of course, my signature sojourn on country newspapers was the final 16 years at The Jasper Newsboy.

Another memento is a glass-domed display of a gold pocket watch hanging from a post, a special version of the traditional retirement gift from a former supervisor and friend. (I’ve long carried a pocket watch since precious metals create a rash on my wrist).

Some of the plaques that decorate the wall are personal awards but, fittingly, the final active years newspaper contest awards hanging here are products of an extremely gifted writer, Life Mate, who makes me very proud.

Finally, there is one small plaque that reflects our personal mantra of newspaper service:

“Public sentiment is everything. With it nothing can fail. Without it nothing can succeed.” — Abraham Lincoln

Willis Webb is a retired community newspaper editor-publisher of more than 50 years experience. He can be reached by email at
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