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Opinion: A quarter century flies by

Saturday I am celebrating my 26th anniversary at The Madera Tribune. I started by selling retail advertising, June 12, 1995. Since then, I have worked in almost every job in the place. I once angered a publisher so much that one day he demoted me to the point where I was filling newspaper machines with stories I had written the previous day.

I’ve always had way more guts than good sense and not afraid to state my opinion even at my peril.

Some of the many publishers who have occupied the “Big Chair,” have seen me as an asset to the company while I think a couple of the others, maybe not so much.

While I don’t have a degree in journalism, like some of my colleagues, I feel I have at least a Master’s or PHD in Madera.

Les Hayes, our former publisher, retired as a result of the 1993 death of former Tribune owner Dean Lesher. After a few years we were blessed to have Betty Linn, former publisher of the Sierra Star in Oakhurst fill in for a couple of months. During that time, she convinced Hayes to came out of retirement and help us with retail advertising sales.

I became well-acquainted with Les and one day I asked him If he would have hired me when he occupied the top slot. He admitted he would not and I was not the least bit insulted.

Once upon a time I fancied myself quite the rabble rouser. It was fun and I enjoyed it.

When the State of California first proposed a women’s prison be built between Madera and Chowchilla, one of the preferred sites sat kitty-corner across the intersection of my in-laws, five-acre place in Dixieland.

The neighbors were not in favor of disrupting our country lifestyle with the noise and traffic of what became Central California Women’s Facility.

We attended all the public hearings, meetings and associated gatherings to discuss the site selection process.

I wrote a lot of letters to my elected representatives and in general made a great nuisance of myself, something at which I excel.

Had my crystal ball showed me that within 10 years we would sell the ranch and move into town, my ardor would have cooled considerably. Classic case of won the battle, lost the war.

One evening I went into the office and our boss Danny Dean asked me what I had done to a local merchant to make him dislike me? He didn’t want me as his advertising representative but he didn’t want to make me mad either. Dean assured him that he’d assign a new ad rep and I wouldn’t be mad at him.

This businessman held an elected spot on one of Madera’s governing bodies.

I told Dean that while I didn’t really have a specific memory of the incident, that I may have once gone before this body and told them I thought they were a bunch of (insert past-tense profanity here please) idiots.

He was a bit surprised I didn’t remember the specific incident but he also didn’t know how often I had done that sort of stuff.

Years later, I did a personality profile on this businessman. I went into his store, apologized for my earlier behavior and he consented to let me write the story.

I will fully admit there were times I would burn bridges, just to watch the flames.

I spent the five years just before my employment at the Tribune working for the law firm of Lester J. Gendron. He, his former wife Virginia and their youngest daughter Stefanie Eddings ran the family law firm. When Les died I gave a eulogy at his funeral.

I introduced myself as the only non-Gendron in an all Gendron law firm. I learned so much working there and became a Notary Public in the process.

The urge to be in people’s faces cooled off somewhat while I worked there. I still know how, but at some point, discovered it took up too much energy that could be used for something constructive.

Saturday should have been my mother’s 91st birthday. She has been gone a long time and I still miss her very much. I envy my friends who still have their healthy parents.

I’ve heard some people think you only grow up when you have kids of your own. Believe me I felt like an adult after I buried my parents and became an adult orphan.

I’ve enjoyed my years at The Madera Tribune and hope there are many more. Thanx so much for reading us and helping us stay relevant in this community.

Long days and pleasant nights, have a great weekend.

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Readers may contact Tami Jo Nix by emailing or following @TamiJoNix on Twitter.


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