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A penny for your thoughts … so write them down

A penny for your thoughts … so write them down

Posted: Friday, February 17, 2012 8:01 pm
By: By Kevin Bowden, Staff Reporter

A penny for your thoughts ... so write them down | A penny for your thoughts ... so write them down, letter to the editor

The Messenger 02.17.12

I miss Mike Royko.
I miss Lewis Grizzard.
For those not familiar with these two legendary writers, they were columnists I greatly admired. Royko in Chicago and Grizzard in Atlanta.
Royko won a Pulitzer Prize for his writing before he passed away in 1997. Grizzard wrote about all things Southern before he passed away in 1994.
I always enjoyed reading their columns and I think somehow they were part of the reason I got into journalism. They were prolific as columnists, while I tend to lean toward news coverage.
I suppose their names came up in my mind after Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Rick Bragg visited town recently.
I always enjoyed how Royko could dissect even the most complicated of issues with his wicked sense of humor. He was sarcastic and witty in his delivery and was usually right on target with his point of view.
Grizzard, I think, was the literary predecessor to Jeff Foxworthy. He could so eloquently deliver the written word with a Southern twang that I so greatly admired.
I bring these men’s names up because I’d like to encourage readers of The Messenger to become writers … to submit letters to the editor.
When I read other newspapers, I typically gravitate toward the Letters to the Editor section to see what the man/woman on the street is thinking.
I must say I’m rather disappointed that we don’t have more letters to the editor in The Messenger. Maybe Topix is a more easily accessible venue and writers can remain anonymous in their rantings and ravings.
I would like to charge our readers to speak up and let the general public know what’s on your mind.
I don’t necessarily think letters need to focus on the negative, but there is certainly enough of that out there to fill up our Op Ed page.
How about some letters that outline some potential solutions to our problems?
Obion County has some very serious issues that need to be addressed. Meaningful discussions about our issues could be prompted by a few letters to the editor.
I’m reminded of a famous quote by Margaret Mead: “Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have.”
Obion County is certainly in a state of transition and there most definitely is a need for creative leadership. Maybe a grassroots movement might help inspire positive growth.
“Without change, something sleeps inside us, and seldom awakens. The sleeper must awaken,” according to Frank Herbert.
A few inspirational letters to the editor could serve as a call to action and maybe, just maybe, they could lead to some ideas.
Several years ago the Obion County Chamber of Commerce hosted TVA’s Phil Scharre, who conducted a “Quality Communities” program for the county. The TVA program essentially asked the question: If you knew USA Today was coming in a couple of years to do a front page community profile of Obion County, what do we need to do to prepare?
Just think about that for a minute.
If you have any ideas, get out a piece of paper and a pen …
Staff Reporter Kevin Bowden may be contacted by email at


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