Hearty helping of home

Published 7:11 pm Saturday, January 31, 2009

Living as a stranger in a strange land (with apologies to Robert A. Heinlein) is normal life for most reporters.

This one, in particular, has never known much of a home. A good deal of the 30-plus years in journalism I’ve spent wandering from newspaper to newspaper and adventure to adventure. Some of those times I’ve spent in war zones or disaster areas or places that most people flee. It’s the nature of an adrenaline junkie to chase the risks.

And in all those years, I’ve never had a scratch or felt any more discomfort than a touch of Montezuma’s revenge.

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It’s ironic that a couple of weeks ago, I stepped on the back porch to say good morning to the Alabama River, hit a spot of ice and landed the wrong way on my ankle.

But the silver lining in the dark cloud of hurt rose right away.

You guys, community, took care of me.

The folks with the ambulance service (with a little help from Dennis Palmer and Erica Slone and Deans Barber, the younger) got me out of the tree house and down to ground level.

My community medical center took me in, made me comfortable, and connected me with a bone doctor — even to the point of wheeling me over to his office.

Austin and Susan Keith took this stranger into their hotel to allow for recuperation before and after surgery. Folks came in and out. The staff at the surgical center was patient and kind.

More folks came in and out. St. Paul’s sent food and good wishes to this sometimes occupant of the back row. Cecil Williamson checked in and offered prayer prior to surgery.

More folks called, checked in and sent good wishes or flowers.

My public library saved sanity (if you can’t work, you have to read) by sending over favorite authors and slipping in some new ones.

The staff at The Selma Times-Journal has run errands, pushed the wheelchair (I think each of them must have felt like Sisyphus at times), and given encouragement.

The whole of this experience makes me want to hug each and every one of you. This reporter has settled in. This is community.

Thank you.