Thursday, September 28, 2006

Sept. 28, 2006 -- Boss’s departure leaves vacancy for new dork

By David Fong, Troy Daily News

I still remember when David Kennard walked into our newsroom seven years ago. My first thought was, “Well, where did they get this dork from?”
And as he prepared to leave our newsroom, my final thought is, “How can we possibly let this dork go?”
Often times in this business, we see our co-workers more than we see our families (which, when you have a mother like mine, isn’t necessarily such a bad thing, I suppose). In any event, it sometimes gets to the point where we start thinking of our fellow journalists as family members.
I suppose since he was the boss, some might think of David as a father figure — but I never did.
Mostly because if I ever gave my father a “Wet Willie” or a “Purple Nurple” or “Forearm Skin Burn” — all of which I tried to administer to David on a weekly basis — my dad would have beaten the snot out of me.
No, David was more like an older brother — an older brother that I was physically superior to (or at least an older brother that allowed me to think I was physically superior to him).
Last Sunday, David wrote his final column detailing all the things he’s going to miss about living and working here in Miami County.
And here’s all of the things I’m going to miss about David being here:
■Throwing things on top of the roof of the Troy Daily News. In the past three months alone, pumpkins, doughnuts and muffins have all been thrown from the street to the roof of the newspaper by David and I. Good thing he’s leaving before he put something through our publisher’s window, huh?
■Working with David to put out “The Blitz,” our weekly high school football section. You ever notice how beautiful some of the covers have been, particularly during Troy-Piqua week? Thank him.
He’s one of the most talented newspaper designers I’ve ever known. Afraid you’ll notice a drop-off here in the next week or so? Blame him ... for leaving.
■Calling David at home at 3 a.m. when the computers crash — then him not remembering our phone conversation the next day.
■Watching David eat a nutritious dinner when he pulled a Saturday night shift. If, of course, you consider an entire can of sour cream and onion Pringles, a giant microwave burrito and six gallons of root beer (real root beer, not the kind of root beer I usually write about) nutritious, that is.
■The Strawberry Festival bed races. How can we possibly continue this tradition without him? Much faster, in all likelihood.
■Buying various forms of livestock with him at the Miami County Fair auction every summer.
Last month, David and I spent an afternoon at the fair. We drank milkshakes, we looked at pigs, we played midway games and we won one of those stupid painted sticks (which I spent the rest of the day poking him with, by the way).
By that point, I knew David was looking to move out West and likely would be leaving our happy family soon. In the back of my mind, I knew it was probably going to be one of our final chances to hang out.
While I was happy to see him move on to a new opportunity, I knew all of our lives were going to be a little worse off once he left.
In his final column, David wrote that what he’ll miss about Troy is everything. All I’m going to miss about him is everything.
The big dork.

Troy’s very own David Fong appears on Thursdays in the Troy Daily News. With David gone, he plans on channeling all his abuse toward Chuck Soder.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Sept. 24, 2006 -- The best thing about living in Troy is everything

Besides the tomato garden in the backyard, I think the thing I’ll miss the most about Troy is the Strawberry Festival bed races.

Wait. Scratch that.

Besides the tomato garden in the back yard, I think the thing I’ll miss the most is fishing for bluegill in the county ponds next to the Little League fields.

No, wait, tomatoes, fishing, then Strawberry Festival bed races. Of course the bed races count for two, because it’s also a blast selling strawberry pies with the Boy Scouts on the square that same night.

Also on the list would have to be riding the Great Miami River bike path through Troy — but once I’m not around I’m not sure who will give Bob Shook a hard time about the thing. (I’d never admit it, but he and his committee really have done a great job on the project.)

So my Troy top 10 would be backyard tomatoes, fishing, bed races, bike path, then maybe sneaking away from the office to grab some lunch at Bakehouse Breads or Taggerts on the Square.

After that, I have to include the Friday night concert series, the downtown bike races, eating elephant ears at the Miami County Fair and squeezing lemons for the Rotary Club on the levee during the Strawberry Festival.

Is that 10?

OK, making the top 20 would have to be pizza from the Staunton Country Store, golf at the Troy Country Club or Miami Shores — since I’m a horrible golfer it really doesn’t matter much to me.

Also, watching Fourth of July fireworks from the Market Street bridge, concerts at Hayner, ice cream from Wildberries and hiking at Charleston Falls.

OK, wait, Charleston Falls has to be in the Top 10. I’m a little lost on what has to go, but they’re all right up there.

Rounding out the top 20 things I’ll miss the most when I leave next week has to be skiing with the high school at Mad River Mountain and watching any high school sporting event, but especially basketball.

And let me renew my objection to selling the Miami East Intermediate School Gym. You just haven’t experienced basketball unless you’ve seen a game at that old gym.

Other stuff that has to be included on the things-I’ll-miss-most list: Running the 5K at Brukner, Summer Camp with the Boy Scouts (total I’ve spent 30 nights over six summers in canvas tents between here and Kentucky) and riding the motorcycle along the River Road north of Troy.

During the last seven years, I’ve flown kites at WACO field, marched in numerous Halloween parades and bought enough animals at the Miami County Fair market sale to fill a barnyard.

A side note: You know those hamburgers they pass out to buyers at the sale barn? Well, don’t you think it’s just a little cruel to be eating hamburgers in front of the cows that are walking around in the auction pen? I mean talk about rubbing your face in it.

Oh yeah, and bike rides to Troy Community Park, and riding on the TDN float in the Strawberry Festival Parade, and root beer floats from the UDF across the street.

I can’t believe I almost forgot root beer floats. Working the copy desk on a Saturday night would be almost unbearable without root beer floats.

I hope they have root beer floats in Idaho and tomatoes and strawberry pie.

David Kennard has been the Troy Daily News executive editor for the last seven years. Next week he leaves for a new position at the Idaho Statesmen in Boise, Idaho. You can contact him at