Don, meet your godson. Sparky, meet your godfather.
This afternoon one of my best friends, Don Winslow, arrived from Austin for Sparky’s baptism tomorrow afternoon. This is the first time I have seen Don in probably five years, even though we talk on the phone quite frequently and email every few days or so.
It’s great having him here, as well as my Mom, who flew in from Wisconsin a few hours later. Even though it’s going to be a whirlwind trip for both, Nicki and I are so glad they are both here.
Don has been my friend since I first met him in 1983, during a dinner hour visit to the Milwaukee Journal and Sentinel cafeteria (where I had worked the summer before as an intern ; now I was interning at The Chicago Tribune).
Don was a new picture editor at The Milwaukee Sentinel, the old Hearst paper, and the fiesty morning paper (I delivered it for three years on my rickety bike when I was a kid.).
He had his feet plopped up on the table, rocking on the back legs of a chair and enjoying a post dinner smoke (when you could smoke just about anywhere. He’s long since given that up — he’s a runner now and very health conscious) and said to me: “I heard about you. You were that intern that pissed off 1/2 the night staff. I already like you!” And then he cackled the high-pitched Winslow laugh while pounding the table, taking great delight that some of those staffers were right there in our midst.
We’ve been great friends ever since.
Through all the postings we each have had, all the travels, travails and just the general wackiness that is and has been the newspaper business, we’ve stayed the best of friends.
Don was right there when Nicki and I got married (along with my other great friend John Kringas the other groomsmen, and then the wedding was photographed by our friends Dan Milnor and his wife Amy Kawadler.)
We still tell the stories of the glory days of newspapers, which to us was back in the 80s when newspapers and their staffs were full of colorful characters.
Often those characters were politically incorrect to be kind, but they sure had heart. Not to mention they provided us with stories that still make us howl with laughter. Most aren’t ready for prime-time, and more appropriate for satellite radio.
So even though Don’s and my Mom’s visits are entirely too short, we’ll have a great time and savor every minute.
And tell those stories again, for old time’s sake.