Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: The Media (in any form) (11/11/10)
TITLE: Tribune Tribute
By Beth Muehlhausen
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Gayle Beth Delaney served as editorial page editor of the Transitville Tribune for forty years. The town of Transitville grew dramatically during that time, swelling from a population of eight to almost fourteen thousand. Its identity as a farming community also shifted with the arrival of new industries, and its ethnicity reflected that change.
Gayle prided herself in the consistency of her editorial page. She avoided the sensational killings, threats, and disasters of typical prime-time headlines to focus instead on matters of human perception, intention and resolve. Occasional letters from agenda-crazed readers stirred up ire, but they were grossly overshadowed by editorials that pulled the readership toward loftier thoughts and ideals. Gayle felt the core issues of human life remained essentially the same in every age, despite circumstantial differences. Addressing those commonalities through the lens of current events became her passion.
Her colleagues and reading audience found her unique and interesting. She was a plain but magnetic woman, one uninterested in sophisticated pretenses who preferred to spend quiet evenings poring over classic literature. Gayle’s magnified bug-eyes seemed almost reptilian behind the very thick lenses in her glasses, while friendly smile-lines spread out from the sides of those eyes like welcoming fans. Deep creases in her cheeks - oversized parentheses - framed her full, red-lipstick-coated mouth.
In her first year with the Tribune, Gayle’s initials – GB – served as her signature. Tiny circles replaced the expected periods behind each letter, adding a creative flair. While respectful to her face, her co-workers jokingly began calling her Go Bo behind her back. She quickly caught on, and willingly adopted the nickname. It stuck, permanently. She knew how to get along.
Every Monday Go Bo’s desk displayed a new single red rose in a white vase, a bud that would continue to open throughout the week. However, woe to anyone who might lean over to investigate its aroma! “The warmth of human breath will cause a fragile flower to wilt more quickly,” Go Bo explained matter-of-factly to anyone tempted to sniff her desk ornament. She resolutely honored each flower during its season of glory under her care, just as she celebrated those who read, and wrote for, her page.
Several editors-in-chief came and went during Go Bo’s sojourn with the Tribune. They all learned to respect her possessive editorial vigor, and honor her hard work and commitment. No one questioned her over-preoccupation with virtues like valor and compassion. Over time, she became an unspoken icon of unpretentious honesty, optimism, and hope.
Go Bo announced her pending retirement from the Tribune at her sixty-fourth birthday celebration. Not long after, a spry senior citizen composed a scrawled, handwritten letter on a sheet of lined notebook paper and mailed it to the newspaper:
Dear Tribune Readers,
Some of you may not know that Gayle Beth Delaney, our beloved Tribune editorial page editor who is also affectionately known as Go Bo, is retiring in a matter of weeks. As a firm anchor in our local newspaper staff for four decades, she emphasized a spirit of goodwill and concern that has affected the entire Transitville community, and beyond, like a tonic.
While it is not uncommon for various forms of media to become avenues for emphasizing doom and gloom and promoting scandalous self-exaltation in political, economic and entertainment arenas, Go Bo humbly served us from a perspective of genuine – dare I say it? – LOVE. She deserves our thanks.
As her neighbor, she has escorted me to church ever since health issues prevented me from driving independently. If the public press would allow such candor, I know she would rather exalt her God with stories of His faithfulness and deliverance. As it is, she has done well to keep us focused on things that matter in the midst of news otherwise bent toward self-absorption and even overt evil.
Join with me, please, in recognizing her. Send your letters soon!
Go Bo wept freely when she read Ed’s letter, one that opened a floodgate of mail. In the days that followed, tidal waves of thank you notes and cards from Tribune readers flowed freely into her office. Her heart swelled with gratitude as she deeply realized, perhaps for the first time in such an intense and heart-felt way, that life truly is about blooming where you’re planted in light of I Corinthians 10:31: “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
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