Lockdown Diary – Day 36

Well, this has been a forgettable day. Cold, rainy weather. Back pain. Very little accomplished. Thought my back was getting better but I was wrong. Now the pain and stiffness goes right across my lower back, where before it was in one spot. On top of that I felt sick to my stomach most of the day. Really looking forward to not feeling like shit.

I did manage to get out of the house briefly to spend some quality time in my man cave (aka shed).

In other news, Boris Johnson has another mouth to feed. But he went right back to work, trooper that he is. And Donald Trump is fearful of not getting his Big Macs so is forcing meat packing plants hit badly by Covid-19 to remain open.

60 Years Ago Today…

It was a lovely spring day today, warm sunshine making us forget the winter that only a week ago had us shivering. It would have been the perfect day for a walk on Reigate Hill, but we were all very busy getting ready for our trip next week. It was only when I looked at the logs for ridey.net and saw that someone had come via this google search that I realised I really should have gone up there today of all days, 19 March. I’ll go up to pay my respects tomorrow, come rain or shine.

Max Jennings

max_jennings.jpgOver the weekend I learned of the death of Max Jennings. Max was my academic adviser when I started at ASU, and I took several news writing classes that he taught. Then he left to become Executive Editor of the Mesa Tribune, and when I graduated he gave me my first job there.

Max was a journalist of the old school, not afraid to raise his voice in the newsroom, always ready to point out your mistakes and praise your good work in equal measure. When I was the news editor on the Tribune, each day I would come in to work to find a copy of that morning’s paper in my mailbox with every mistake circled with a red marker pen, from a missing comma to a missing fact. I absolutely hated opening up that paper each day. But I learned how to get things right.

I lost touch with Max after I went to work in Los Angeles and beyond. But if he’d known what I’ve been up to in the intervening years, I’d like to think he’d have smiled that big, goofy grin and said in his Texas drawl, “Ridey, not bad, kiddo”.

Our old paper remembers him well, as do some of the countless journalists for whom he was truly an inspirational editor.