Another year has come and gone, and I’m having a hard time dealing with how quickly the calendar moves these days. The seasons seem to run together, and in a blink of an eye we’re looking at Christmas, New Year’s Day and, of course, another trip to the Beltwide Cotton Conferences in early January. Where did the time go? It seems like it was only yesterday that we were all waxing nostalgic at the 2013 Beltwide in San Antonio. We were already preparing ourselves for the transition to the 2014 Beltwide and the different format.
One of my favorite photos from last year’s Beltwide is the group picture someone took at the media dinner on the last night. After that photo was taken, we signed an over-sized restaurant menu, hugged everybody in the room, said our good-byes and scattered back to our homes across the country. As I was leaving that event, I couldn’t help wondering when my path would cross again with these media friends. I know I shouldn’t obsess about these things, but the older we get, the more we reflect on lifetime friendships we’ve made in the cotton ag media world.
In the year since that media dinner in San Antonio, I have run across some of those friends several times. And I am always glad to see them. We may be competitors, but we are “friendly” competitors who relish the opportunity to cover the cotton industry and the people who lead it….from the turnrow to the halls of Congress.
Having said that, there are folks that I may never see again, and I worry about that. My friend Harry Cline of Western Farm Press retired during the past year, and I am hoping that somewhere down the road I’ll run into him again. Even though Harry is a competitor, I loved swapping stories with him about his ongoing battles with various anti-ag groups in California. The first time I ever met Harry was in 1985 when I was traveling as a staff member for the National Cotton Council on a CCI Orientation Tour that started on the East Coast and finished up two weeks later on the West Coast. That was only 28 years ago.
I could name other folks that I don’t see on the ag media circuit anymore. Our farm broadcaster friend Stewart Doan passed away in May of 2012, and his presence is sorely missed at Beltwide events. As I said, there are other folks that we don’t see as often, and those friends are definitely missed.
If there is a good story in all of this nostalgia, it’s that friendships last a lifetime – even if we don’t see these people in person. So, as we get closer to the Beltwide in New Orleans, here’s hoping that I’ll get a chance to see many old friends again. Reunions are very special….no matter where they occur.