Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

Opinion

June 19, 2014

Clothing optional: Things change over time, but a fervor for information remains

Corsicana — Two weeks ago, son No. 3 walked across the stage, to where ... we really don’t know. Now a high school graduate, his future remains uncertain. No major. No job. No clue.

OK, so that likely makes him your average teenager, your average high school graduate. Whatever you think of preparedness for the next stages of his life, I can assure of one thing: He is miles ahead of where I was at his age ... except for the fact I had a job and was somewhat self-sufficient.

But, when I think back to my childhood, I can see the building blocks of what I do today taking shape. No, I don’t have a degree in journalism, nor did I walk across the stage at the K. and Ida Wolens Center in my blue cap and gown thinking, “I want to work in publishing.”

I just read.

Today, the adventure and wonderment of covering sports and criminal investigations and profiling our community’s finest no longer fill my days. I wish they did. I often wish they did. You get to a certain level at any company, and your role becomes almost exclusively about the business, about numbers, about decisions, some mind-numbing at times.

But as a young kid, I read. A lot. One Christmas break, I read “To Kill a Mockingbird” in two days. Icy conditions outside helped.

More importantly, I read the newspaper. The Dallas Morning News. The Corsicana Daily Sun. The Waco Tribune if I could get my hands on it.

My reading habits have changed, slightly. Obits, opinion, all the news fit to be printed. But what got me out the door as a 10-year-old streaking through the morning darkness in my underwear was the sports section. Dick Gibbs. Mike Montfort. David G. Campbell.

LeBron has his Mount Rushmore, and I have mine. Even as a kid who thought the greatest times on earth included a wiffle ball and bat in my backyard, those three local legends were shaping my future. My favorite time of year was the fall, when the air cooled, the trees turned and Sunday Morning Quarterback seemed like a small novel. I read every word, every Sunday.

The stat packages those men did for high school sports were also legendary. One fall, one of my pastimes was to check weekly to see where my old friend, Vince Garcia, ranked in the Top 10 rushing games of the year each week.

A habit formed at a young age. Little did I know I’d someday see an ad in my Daily Sun, and jump — no leap head first, at the opportunity to get involved. As a young husband and father at 22, my family lived on the second floor of an apartment complex. There were staples of our daily lives: press my clothes for work, get by on the meals tailor-made for struggling young adults, come home to two of the brightest and most energetic smiles you could imagine ... and wait for the thump at the front door when the Daily Sun arrived.

Having created a Fantasy Football League before Yahoo and ESPN went online and millions were doing it, I wrote a weekly newsletter for our league. On a typewriter. When I saw the ad in the Daily Sun one day, sitting in that apartment, that said, “Do you like high school football? Do you want to make extra money?,” I said, “Yes, and yes!”

The rest is history. It took my love affair with the local newspaper to a new level. But even if that day had never happened, and today work took me to a completely different place, in a completely different line of work, I can’t imagine the local newspaper not being a part of it. Regardless of what community I call home.

Of course the landscape has changed. We’re read by more people today than ever. And I mean ever. Thousands, daily. They come to us from all over thanks to Facebook, Twitter and corsicanadailysun.com. And thousands still pick up that print edition I once raced against sunlight half-naked to scoop up.

One thing has changed: my mailbox is about 100 feet from my front door, and I want to remain in the good graces of my neighbors.

——————

Raymond Linex II is publisher of the Corsicana Daily Sun. He started his career in the fall of 1992, after the Daily Sun fire that temporarily moved operations downtown. He joined the staff full-time in 1995, left briefly for the Arlington Morning News, and returned in 1998 as sports editor. Since then, he has served as the editor for seven years, and became publisher in the fall of 2007.

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