How I got started
It was 2005 when our fabulous weekly newspaper, The Mansfield News Mirror, held another contest. This time it was writing. Everyone in the city gets to vote. Mansfield is like that. I wrote Who Gave AARP my Address and won! I got some goodies, like coupons to the movie theater, Sonic, etc. The editor, my favorite, very clever lady herself, Amanda Rogers, asked if I’d like to write for the paper. And so I did. We titled it JUST JUDY.
We had our usual arguments, like “even Erma Bombeck doesn’t write THAT long of an article!” To which I replied, “Amanda, I can’t even say, ‘HI’ in less than 500 words!” Amanda is a great editor if you like bossy people. She’s not. Uh huh.
Once she called to give me a heads up on the Editor’s Comments. Somebody, who will remain nameless, complained that I was making fun of Lent. My children said, “Wow mom, you made the big time!” It was all the candy I would eat just before getting ashes on Ash Wednesday. Nothing counts until you actually get the ashes, ya’ know. So, sure, I might be stuffing my face with the last of the M&Ms as I walk down the aisle at the last mass of the day to get my ashes, tipping the bag to get every crumb. And okay. I did have to let a few people in front of me while I licked the chocolate off my hand. I don’t think Father noticed. It’s going to be 40 days without chocolate, people!
That Sunday at breakfast after mass, I met Father who snickered, “I hear you wrote an article about Lent.” He dropped the newspaper right in front of me. He said he’d gotten several if I needed an extra copy. Gulp. So as I tried to explain, he said, “You can’t please all the people all of the time,” and walked off shaking his head chuckling. I think he likes me.
It took several months before I finally found my passion. You see, I have 5 children and a wonderful husband who became the basis for those articles. Everything I seemed to write was spot on. Stories everyone could relate to. All true antics of the dumb things we all did moving around the country. Actually, I was purely an observer in those adventures. It was my husband that was the funny guy, falling off the roof into the shrubs while I was washing the picture window in the living room. Plop! Or the time he got a cramp in his toes and I called the children in so we could all laugh at those stubby little toes pointing in all directions. Everyone gets cramps somewhere, but your toes!
My husband is the most entertaining guy I know so why not take advantage of it. Like when he threw the check book down the hall and yelled, “I give up.” Really, don’t leave it around if you don’t want me to write checks. And after 50 years, he should know that I neither post the check nor check the balance. That’s just the way it is. We women are like that, right? I’m too busy waxing my mustache to worry about such trivia.
The Fort Worth Star Telegram is the owner of the Mansfield News Mirror and although we still get our weekly paper it has gotten smaller. I can no longer write those mammoth articles and so I’m writing a blog instead. Just can’t help myself. You guys need to know this stuff. Besides, Amanda said it was a great idea.