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February 28, 2002

Back under way

After two weeks of technical difficulties, I'm back. First tried to install Greymatter and pMachine on my Web site but had no success. After daylong uploads, I couldn't get the scripts to run. Probably something I'm doing.

In any case, let's start over.

This blog is a project for a class, Journalism and the Word, in graduate studies at the University of North Texas. For a feature article, I want to examine how it feels to blog.

Navel gazing

I hope I get the hang of this soon. The hardest part is figuring out what to say -- the typical writer's complaint that I don't have anything original to say, or anything that someone else hasn't already said better.

February 14, 2002

A friend is gone

Paul Wagner died today. You probably didnít know him. I didnít know him as well as I should have. Too late now.

Paul was a little man in an electric wheelchair, and his frail body sometimes seemed incapable of pulling the levers to make the thing go. But his spirit was great, and his love for his daughter, Molly, was boundless.

We worked side by side for several years, and I came to love him for his caustic wit and wry take on everything from government to the newspaperís management decisions.

In his work he was a consummate newsman who helped guide the national and international report of the Star-Telegram. He previously worked as the newspaperís Sunday editor, presiding over the content of the most important edition of each week.

I frequently drove him home after work, and sometimes we would talk, drink and smoke cigarettes into the early morning. We both enjoyed music and that provided grist for conversation. But sometimes we didnít talk, just listened, or just thought. It wasnít necessary Ė sometimes two people are so comfortable together they donít have to fill the space with words or other noise.
We grew apart over the years; our schedules didnít coincide anymore and our roles at the paper changed. In the last years, he worked from home frequently, and I hardly saw him at all.

Now Iíll never see him again Ė there will be no funeral or other service, and theyíll scatter his ashes over the mountains and the sea.

Paul retired last month, to go on permanent disability leave, and I had to miss his retirement party, though Iím told he mentioned my name in his farewell to the paper. I hope he remembered me kindly.
Not two weeks after he left the paper to start a new kind of life, a driver hit him as he rolled across the street in his chair.

When I grow so old that I have nothing left but memories, I will remember Paul. I am among those many who have been blessed to know him.

May God grant his spirit peace.