My apologies to Hugh

Published 2:55pm Monday, August 16, 2010

For more years than I care to count a reporter’s notebook has been part of my life. Making sure the one currently in use is always with me has become as automatic as checking my pocketbook (purse or bag) daily for wallet, keys, Kleenex, lipstick, comb and medication of the moment, if any.

This being said, let the statement be made that last week my notebook let me down, or to be truthful in the extreme, I let it down.

After taking notes during my Life&Style interview, I closed said notebook, put it in my carrier of the day to remain until I was ready to sit at my computer to write the next article due at The Times-Journal. Usually, this is one or two days following the interview. Such is the case in my upcoming confession.

Because the subject of my recent Golden Years is also a longtime friend, my time with her was more a visit than an interview and extended into well over an hour. I often paused in note taking to laugh in recalling a long-ago memory, to reminisce over a friend no longer with us and to enjoy recalling the way life used to be in our home town.

As the afternoon ended we joined for supper other friends who also live there, one of the most pleasant places in Selma, so my notebook remained closed until a day or so later when I was ready to write the article.

Reading my notes with care is a requisite that is never routine. So, how I missed at least an entire paragraph I have no idea unless (could it be?) age is getting to me. As a result, the article was less than accurate.

During the interview Tootie and I spoke of her daughter and son, her grandsons and granddaughters and great-granddaughters. But, there was one exception, an outstanding exception, in that I failed to mention or name Hugh Nicolson Hobbs.

I have now made my apologies to Tootie Gould, her daughter and son-in-law Grace and Ralph Hobbs, but not yet to Hugh Nicolson Hobbs, her grandson and their son, who was omitted from the article. Here it is:

Dear Hugh:

Your grandmother often speaks of you, as she does of her other grandchildren and two great-granddaughters. For instance, I know that you were born November 19, 1976. Your wife is the former Bonnie Bell. You are a commercial agricultural consultant and you live on a very large acreage where soy beans, wheat and corn are grown, located near Bogue Chitto and Marion Junction.

You and your wife attend both St. Paul’s Episcopal and the Methodist churches and are also active in the local community. According to your grandmother, you and Bonnie are sweetly attentive to her. And according to your father, my friend Ralph Hobbs, you are a fine young couple and a joy to your family.

I am truly sorry that my reporter notebook let me down. Am I forgiven?

If not, please list the correct number of mea culpas necessary and I shall comply immediately. Although I have not spoken to you personally in quite a while, on the next occasion I shall avail myself of the opportunity to do so in person.

Jean Martin is editor emeritus of Life & Styles.

Editor's Picks