Charles P. Doud, Publisher — R.I.P.
I met Chuck Doud when he first moved to Madera and took the reins at the Madera Tribune. He and I had lunch at the Vineyard to discuss the column that I had been writing for the newspaper for several years. We became friends, and I am saddened to learn of his demise. He was a learned man of vast and interesting experience who also possessed a wonderful sense of humor.
Many years ago, his late wife Annette phoned me and invited me to join her and Chuck for his birthday. I went to their home and the three of us went to a restaurant in Fresno. The date was September 10, which also happened to be my birthday, but I didn’t mention that. Chuck and I were the same age, so for several years I assumed that we were born on the same day. Consequently, every year I used my column to wish Chuck a happy birthday, always recounting events in his life, like his newspaper column about the Hindenburg disaster (1937), or his coverage of the Spanish American War (1898), or his interview of Leonardo DaVinci (1519), or the death of Julius Caesar (44 BC).
Imagine my shock when I learned that Chuck’s birthday was actually September 12, making me two days older than him. Nevertheless, I continued to poke fun at him annually, and I know that he enjoyed the friendly joke.
Chuck and I were members of the Kiwanis Club of Madera. One year, he and Annette went for vacation to Playa del Carmen, a beautiful beach in Mexico. When he wrote about the trip, he either misspelled every Spanish word or simply got it wrong. The Kiwanis Club met for lunch on Cinco de Mayo that year, and I presented Chuck with a button that declared “Besame soy mexicano,” which means “Kiss me, I’m Mexican.” I also had him repeat after me the famous lines from the movie, Treasure of the Sierra Madre: “Badges? We don’t got no badges. We don’t need no badges. We don’t gotta show you no stinking badges.” He almost made through the soliloquy without chuckling.
On another occasion, he was the auctioneer at the spring gala for the arts. He held up a painting, elaborated on how beautiful it was and that it would probably double in value before the lucky bidder got it home. He started the bidding at $1,000. There were no bids, so he gradually lowered the amount. When he got to $750, a hand in the crowd shot up. Chuck said, “Great. I’ve got 750, do I hear 800? 800? 775? By the way, who gave me the 750 bid?” He shielded his eyes from the light that was shining on him and nearly screamed, “Annette? Oh my god! For this?”
I nearly fell out of my seat because I was laughing so hard. My date kept elbowing me in the ribs, but I couldn’t stop until Chuck looked at me and said, “Jim, get me out of this. Please.” That set off another bout of giggling.
It goes without saying that I’ll miss Chuck. He was a great editor and a cherished friend.
Requiesce in pace, Charles P. Doud. (Rest in peace, Charles P. Doud.) I’ll miss you.