Paris Goodnight: Not missing out on anything

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 4, 2022

One of the hazards of working the strange hours that some newspaper folks do is you miss out on things that others get to take for granted. One such event that surfaced recently was an impromptu Saturday gathering of some members of my graduating class, but like all other such days, someone had to be around to put together that Sunday edition of the Salisbury Post.

I don’t usually mind such things since I never was one to take part in all the social activities of the “in” crowd. And working at night leaves daylight hours free to be outside and do other things that might actually give me a little extra dose of Vitamin D that I’m sure is needed. I’m not exactly sure what the proper dosage is since too much can lead to all sorts of worse things later on, like skin cancers that are no fun to fight off.

So I keep tweaking the amount of sunlight I get as I get older and try to reach just the right amount to do some good without going overboard.

But on the missing out part, I’m reminded of one of the favorite quotes my oldest son made when he was just learning to speak his mind and his grandmother told him he would be remiss if he didn’t do something that she had in mind for him, to which he responded: “I ain’t missing out on nothing.”

The details have gotten a little fuzzy over the years about what brought up his response. Maybe it was something on his plate, like fried fish, that he didn’t want to try. Or maybe it was something else he just didn’t want to do. Anyway, we laughed and came to the realization that he really was right as we repeated the tale as often as possible. He took as many opportunities that arose as possible, but if he didn’t see promise in whatever it was, he promptly moved on to something else. I guess that’s why he is Dr. Goodnight these days, since he really was the brains of our operation.

Even though sometimes I feel like I’m missing out on some things, I try to take Dr. Goodnight’s advice and use that as a prescription for getting along since many things come at you that you probably shouldn’t be part of anyway.

As for the impromptu gathering of classmates, they just happened to hold a smaller after-party the next day. Now Sunday afternoons are perfect for me. But they’re also often a time of rest as they should be. So if I’ve worked a late shift on a Saturday night, then gotten up for a regularly scheduled church service on Sunday morning, my head has been known to nod a bit during Panthers games in the fall. If I snooze through a quarter or two, I don’t really mind — especially over the past couple of seasons when they haven’t actually been much to watch anyway. And I’m not quick to rouse out of a sound sleep if someone wants to change the TV channel — the exact opposite of my wife who used to bolt wide awake if I even thought about changing the channel while her Sunday
NASCAR boys were going round and round. Luckily, when Junior retired, she hasn’t been quite as rabid on being in front of the TV for the races.

So on that Sunday afternoon gathering of folks looking back to our glory years, one key part was a fish fry by our enlisted master chef, Reggie Littlejohn. I must say the way he fried fish reminded me of fare I haven’t enjoyed since I was a much smaller kid and eating what me and my grandmother Connie had caught from a farm pond, or that my Uncle Wayne had pulled from Kannapolis Lake. I understand that some of his fishing expeditions weren’t exactly allowed by the local rules, but I’m hoping the statute of limitations has expired since he’s also no longer with us. But the fish caught back then, and the way my grandmother fried them up, can’t easily be replicated in a restaurant setting. That’s why it was such a treat to watch Reggie work his magic over the huge pots and then sample the finished product when pulled out piping hot.

We don’t often get to take part in such fine gatherings, but if there’s ever a chance when my odd hour schedule allows it, I will choose to take part and sing the praises of anyone involved in making it happen.

Paris Goodnight is editor of the Salisbury Post.