I have a confession to make. At least once a month, as I put the finishing touches on a ‘Mommy Musings’ piece I wonder, ‘Does anyone really care about life according to the Hammond family?’
Shortly thereafter and without fail, I will come across a friend or acquaintance who will share how much they enjoy keeping up with my family through my column. While I realize this is meant as a compliment, as a reporter/journalist it makes me shudder.
When I first came to the Leader my columns were appropriately headed by the words “The Bottom Line.” We all have buzzwords; you know the words we use often in speech. After several months of working here our editor appropriately pointed out that this was one of mine. An audience always knew when I was ready to make my final point in any debate, argument or story, because it was always set-up by the statement of ‘the bottom line is.’
Following the birth of my son, the bottom line became less important and the tales of life with a little one, more abundant. So … ‘The Bottom Line’ became ‘Millennium Mommy’ which soon morphed into the more appropriately titled ‘Mommy Musings.’
Each time I approach the computer to share something new, I have two hopes (okay, maybe three). The first is that those who have already walked this path will reflect back and relive a few fond memories. Secondly, I often hope to offer comfort to mommies navigating the same territory as I am and assure them they are far from alone. And lastly, I hope our readers get a giggle or a smile out of my family’s many antics (since we all have them).
Earlier this month, however, I was confronted with a compliment that I just knew I needed to share.
With kindergarten registration just around the corner my son and I had made a visit to our family dentist office. My son was excited and not at all apprehensive, since he seems to love all things medical (he’s a self-proclaimed scientist).
As our dentist came in and began my son’s exam he was kind enough to comment on my job here at the paper.
“I don’t know how you come up with something new every week,” he stated. “That must be challenging.”
Graciously I accepted his compliment and shared that it helps to do something you love, not to mention live in a community filled with such amazing stories.
The next morning, as I awaited my coffee at a local coffee shop I was graced with a similar compliment from another reader.
“I just don’t know how you do it,” she shared. “But I love reading what you write.”
After eight years of tenure here at the paper I have decided it is finally time to reveal my secret. The answer quite simply is — you. Yep, that’s right, it is just that simple. Pretty much each and every story I write stems from a phone call or a tip from a co-worker or reader in the grocery store.
This week’s feature on Chad Fallentine is a perfect example of that. While he and I first met in 2006, I learned of his latest adventure from a reader who made a call and gave me the tip.
“I’ve never done anything like this before,” the reader stated on my voicemail. “I just thought it might be interesting.”
That’s all it took.
So, while I would like to say, each week I pound the pavement of Oakdale searching for a unique piece to bring your way — that would not be truthful. While I am always on the lookout, the best pieces usually come from you.
As I venture in to my ninth year of looking for interesting pieces I would be remiss if I did not say thank you to each of you, the readers. Thanks for making the call or stopping me at the store, thanks for telling us first and not the big city paper and most importantly, thanks for continuing to read all that we find interesting.
Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.