Friday, December 7, 2012

The News Lady

This is a bitter sweet story I must share. 

It started many moons ago with a young girl and a dream. 

A dream that would take her to places she never dreamed of and places she does not want to go again. 

You see, as far back as I can remember this girl wanted to be a television news reporter. I mean what 10 year old kid asks Santa for a typewriter. I always thought I wanted to be a foreign correspondent until I realized the sacrifice it would take and by that I mean take me away from my family. 

(Little did I know then, a local news gal would spend plenty of time and many a holidays away from family. Brent and I celebrated every holiday for nearly four years at Waffle House.)

My broadcast career blossomed while in college anchoring the MCS News Team and shooting my video on a camcorder. You'll be happy to know my journalist integrity has come a long way since then, too. 

In college, I prepared a resume tape on VHS starring my college roommates and sorority sisters running stops signs. 

After college, I accepted my first television job. I remember like it was yesterday, telling my Dad I got offered a job in Panama City, Florida as its Chief Bureau Reporter in Marianna and they were going to pay me $15 thousand dollars a year. I was on my way to becoming the next Diane Sawyer. 

I remember my Mom drove me to Florida so I could pick up my news truck. (I cried the rest of the day, here I was 23 years old moving to a new state alone and about to embark on one of the hardest but most rewarding things I had done so far) 

The job was much harder than I anticipated, for several reasons. One of which, I was a newly wed, who would spend the next two years on call 24 / 7 hauling a camera, tripod and notepad around. There were days I thought I would never make my deadline...I would pace back and forth while I "fed" in my story. But looking back, that was one of the greatest times of my life. 

I also met one of my greatest friends, Natasha, she was my competition. "My Dawg" and I covered five counties of northwest Florida like it was nobody's business. 

While in Marianna I learned a lot about the news business; first, old women and metal pipes are not a good combination and will "kick your ass"...(her words not mine). I also learned what it is like to be taken to jail and that Honda's don't get near as good gas mileage as you would think. 

From Marianna, I headed to Florida's Capital City, Tallahassee. I would spend the next five years building my career and starting a family. Let me tell you, being on television is hard enough...but being pregnant and on TV. is even worse! 

Tallahassee will always hold a special place in my heart. Both my boys were born there, along with my career as a Television News Anchor. WCTV was my home away from home. I learned if it didn't make Frank Ranicky's socks go up and down it wasn't newsworthy and "who cares." It's also the place where I realized I had a talent...a knack for writing and for people. That confidence in my ability came from a coworker, Julie Montanaro. I will forever be grateful. 

Still, I dreamed of making it back home, of working for a television station my family could watch. That day came in November of 2007 when I landed a job with FOX 10. This of course meant my family would no longer be watching channel 5. 

I remember my grandfather introducing me to his neighbors like I was the Queen of England, or learning my Dad told everyone all about his "News Anchor Daughter." 

One of my first big assignments back home was the story of a man who threw his four kids off the Dauphin Island Bridge. To this day, I can't cross that bridge without thinking of them. 
I have seen a lot in my 12 years as "The News Lady" and heard even more. News has taught me it takes all kinds to make the world go round and that I am blessed beyond measure.

There are a lot of things I will miss about working in television; the rush of breaking news, my front row seat in a courtroom and my fellow journalist. People who work in news are one of a kind, with skin tough as least on the outside.

However, I will not miss trying to find a story, or people telling me..."You look different in person." And the next time someone says, "You look so familiar, do I know you?" I will be so tempted to tell them, "I am a stripper."

As I embark on this next adventure I will remember all news has taught me about life, loss and that I call pull 5 G's in an F-18 without throwing up!

Above all else, I will always cherish the friendships I have made along the way and hope that somewhere I made a difference...that because of me a voice was heard. 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Growing Pains

The past few months I have experienced a lot of growing pains.

I know, you are thinking…isn’t she too old to be going through growing pains?

No, I don’t wake up in the middle of the night suffering from unimaginable leg pains…but I do wake up with a pain so great I feel there is no remedy.

My “growing pains” come from watching my children grow up. It is a bitter sweet pain. I find joy watching my boys grow and flourish, test their independence and sometimes my patience.

At the same time, I can’t help but think my babies are growing up and won’t need me much longer. I won’t always be that person they want to watch them try out a new trick on the playground.

On a recent trip to Disney World I experienced this “growing pain” for the first time when Noah and Kipper chose to spend their time hanging with friends instead of me. They proceeded to spend their day sitting around the pool, telling your mama so fat jokes, which I took personally.

I also experienced this “growing pain” watching my youngest, Kipper, start Kindergarten, when he told me, “Mom, I can do this by myself.” I am sure you can son but this isn’t about you…it’s about me.

I’ve come to realize, there comes a time in parenthood when the line smears into childhood and you must confront the pain and know it isn’t going to go away but you will find ways to manage it.

You manage it by knowing you have taught them well, to grow without fear or pain.

Noah had his first real sleep over recently; needless to say the “growing pains” would visit me that night. The pain of not waking up with a seven year old, which had slipped into our bed in the middle of the night and was sharing my pillow.

But, Noah managed his “growing pains” by saying a prayer I am told that God would keep him safe while away from home. I, too, whispered that same prayer.

I know there are more “growing pains” in store and I will manage those, too.

Even if it means rushing to the bathroom after Noah yells, “I’m done” just to feel needed and momentarily wipe away the “growing pains.”

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Wildcat

There once was a man who woke up every morning feeling like a wildcat, that man will not wake up tomorrow. Instead, he is basking in the glory of our Heavenly Father.

Normally, I write about the antidotes of my boys. But tonight it is with a heavy heart I write about my grandfather, Pops.

Charlie Verdo Cartee passed away tonight. He died peacefully, surrounded by the family he had built with his bride of more than 60 years.

He was a man who loved and was loved.

A man for whom I owe my sense of humor to, a man who taught me all about Bear Bryant, and a man who I inherited my love of politics from.

I was blessed to have him in my life, and to be a part of his.

Ask anyone who knew my Pops, and they’ll tell you…he was one of kind.

Even as dementia threatened to rob him of the person he was, the person we all loved, his personality would resurface.

Every morning I would have coffee with my Pops and Little Maw Maw.

Seated there at their dining room table I would listen as he talked about growing up in Carrollton, recanting stories of his brothers and sister, or even tales from my own childhood.

Each morning he would always ask me, “Where ya going today, Piboo?”

I liked to tease him and say “Prichard, and you’re going along for the ride.”

So, as I prepare to say Goodbye, I look back fondly on the times I waited for his big red car to pull into the driveway and then watched him climb out wearing a hounds tooth hat, or seeing him pretend to blow up his bicep, or cutting into a Watermelon he had chilling in the cooler.

My Pops taught me the importance of family, and because of that I am forever grateful.

I am also grateful, my boys knew their great grandfather and because of his faith in our Savoir the Lord Jesus Christ, we will see him again.

And I know, tonight the wildcat has never felt better.