It’s never too late to reflect on a mentor

By Karl Terry: PNT Managing Editor

Several weeks ago I talked about a live blog I was doing from the Cannon Air Force Base change of command ceremonies. Recently I’ve graduated to a regular blog.

So, if you regularly read my column you’ll want to check out my blog by clicking on the blogs link at the top of the pntonline.com home page.

I won’t be posting everyday, but at times it may be that frequently. Hopefully it will give me a chance to respond quickly with my thoughts about what’s going on in the community or just something silly that happened in my life.

The posts will be shorter than my regular columns but there’s no doubt that some of the ideas that come up online will make it into the print column. It’s also a good place for you to interact and tell me what you’re thinking by posting comments.

After the boss asked me to begin blogging one of the first questions the geek folks asked was for a name for my blog. That was easy. I went back to the name I used on my column for the better part of two decades — “Reflections.”

It’s a name that pays homage to someone pretty important in my professional career. If you read the Portales News-Tribune or the Quay County Sun back in the 1970s or early 1980s you may remember him — J. Fred Thompson.

J. Fred was a reporter, columnist and city editor at the PNT and later a columnist at the Sun. I knew him and never missed reading his column while he was in Portales. But I got to know him much better after he went into semi-retirement in Tucumcari where we worked together in circulation on the fledgling newspaper there.

I was pretty much a grease monkey working in the pressroom and mailroom when he came to know me but he liked me, and after I moved into advertising sales, he took an interest in my professional development.

He invited me into Rotary and was one of the first persons I know who didn’t treat me like a kid.

Our conversations were long, sometimes they were lighthearted and joking, other times they were deep and took on the problems of the world or just our own personal problems.

Facing cancer in his late 70s, he eventually moved to Pueblo where he could get treatment and died not too long after that move.

Several years later, when I had the opportunity to start writing a column I adopted the name “Reflections.”

J. Fred Thompson, former mayor of Sidney, Neb. used the column name “Reflections of a Displaced Nebraskan.”

The Nebraska part didn’t fit, but my columns tried to capture some of the same flavor that his did and “Reflections” fit nicely.

I was a little hesitant to use the name “Reflections” at the PNT where J. Fred worked so long, but he was all about expanding his horizons and trying new things to keep his mind sharp. I think he would get a chuckle out of seeing the name used in cyberspace. Maybe it’s even time to use it on the newspaper column again as well.

Oh, and by the way, to read one of my funniest memories of J. Fred, log on to my blog.

Karl Terry is managing editor for the Portales News-Tribune. He can be contacted at 356-4483, ext. 33. His e-mail address is:
karl_terry@link.freedom.com