The Southeast Missourian’s Don Gordon was a reporter of the old school. There was no flash and trash to him. He did what are dismissed today as “dull but necessary” stories – the kind that keep politicians and bureaucrats honest. I learned a lot from him in the three years we worked together.
I tried to emulate him, down to this crazy way he’d wrap a leg around the typewriter on the stand in front of him, like he was afraid it was going to sneak away or someone was going to steal it. I’m sure he was amused by my imitation, but he was kind enough never to make fun of me. When he got into a rhythm, his typing sounded like a machine gun going off.
He had kind of a long, hang-dog look and a perpetual five-o’clock shadow. I never saw him get stressed or angry, no matter what was going on.
We kept track for a long time; the last time we saw each other, he was working in Paducah, Ky. Then, he fell off the radar screen.
He always mentioned his favorite picture
Whenever we got together, he never failed to mention his favorite photo: a shot he said I took of a couple of kids fishing in the Capaha Park Lagoon oblivious to a dog eating their lunch.
I never had the heart to tell him that I thought he was mistaken. I couldn’t ever recall taking a picture like that. In fact, I had a sequence of photos of kids fishing that I thought he might have been thinking of, but none of them had a dog in them.
Still, I’ll take compliments anyplace I can get them. If someone wants to credit me for what they thought was a memorable photo, I’ll nod my head and agree.
Son of a gun, I DID shoot a picture like that
It was a single frame clipped off the front or back of a roll of film and stuck in with some unrelated photos. The date on the outside of the glassine sleeve says 4/21/67. That date might be right. It looks like it could have been spring. The kids are wearing sweatshirts or sweaters and there are leaves on the trees.
Don’t doubt the Master
Just goes to show that you should never question your old mentor when he tells you that you done good.