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Shinn: Leatherheads hysteria

There are weeks when the newspaper business can be pretty routine.
Then there are weeks like we had last week.
There was the near-hysteria pitch of the George Clooney visit ó and that was just in the newsroom.
Reporter Steve Huffman and I had gone to see “Leatherheads” in Charlotte before the press conference last Wednesday. Being that Steve was an extra in the movie, we now have a rule that you can’t review your own movie for TimeOut. So I got to go.
That led to us covering the press conference together.
“Where’s the Salisbury Post?” one the advance guys asked before the press conference got started.
I was sitting on the front row, and I raised my hand as high as I could.
(I am not sure what Steve was doing at this point. I was too busy shoving him out of the way, kinda like what bridesmaids do when the bouquet is tossed.)
“Would you like to ask the first question?” the advance man asked me.
“Why, yes ó yes, I would,” I said.
Fortunately ó after several sleepless nights ó I had prepared by typing out a list of questions. I did not want to have stage fright while interviewing the Sexiest Man Alive (two different titles!) and get that ol’ deer-in-the-headlights look.
I am happy to say that I was amazingly calm. I don’t think I’ll ever be nervous with another interview.
“You did a good job,” Steve said afterward.
“I just hope I didn’t sound like a dork,” I said.
“You did sound like a dork,” quipped Photo Chief Wayne Hinshaw.
Wayne was kidding.
I think.
The next day, we were settling back into our routines when we got word that President Clinton would be at the depot on Friday.
I had seen the former president when Wayne and I covered the opening of the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte last summer, but I didn’t want to pass up this opportunity. Several of us went down to the depot this time.
By Friday, I have to admit I was feeling a bit like Forest Gump.
(Went to the depot. Again. Saw a famous person. Again.)
Clinton did a fantastic job, although he did look more tired than he did last summer. Heck, who wouldn’t be exhausted with his grueling campaign schedule?
Crowds are the bane of my existence, yet I dove right in when Clinton shook hands with the gathering afterward.
Also last week, I had the pleasure of meeting Jim Safrit of Salisbury, who came in with his three grandchildren to show off a gargantuan 9-pound turnip he’d grown.
Ah, yes, the year’s first entry in the Garden Game.
We’re looking forward to seeing what kind of weird produce comes through the doors this summer. You just never know.
And Crawford Corriher, my dear former neighbor, died on Easter Sunday at age 98. As a kid, I spent many a summer watching him plow the fields in front of our house in China Grove.
Mr. Crawford, as we always called him, had a large family, and I got to spend time with them as they recalled memories of their patriarch.
Last Wednesday, on the day of the funeral ó and the Clooney press conference, talk about a surreal day ó I got to give a hug to each of my beloved boys ó Mark, Jason and Adam, and tell them how much I loved them.
Truth be told, that was really the highlight of my week.
(Don’t forget the giant turnip.)
Because even though celebrities and politicians may come and go, this is our community, and this is our community newspaper.
I can’t think of a better job than that.
– – –
Contact Susan Shinn at 704-797-4289 or via e-mail at sshinn@salisburypost.com.

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