“The opinions expressed on the editorial page are those of the columnists and not necessarily those of The Herald Newspapers, the publishers, or our advertisers and sponsors.” – The Editors
One of my favorite stories while growing up, was the tale of a newspaperman in Memphis. He called himself a newspaperman because he worked on the presses and in variety of other things for the paper after he got out of the Navy.
An Irish Catholic, he was an entertaining fellow with a beautiful wife and seven children. Unfortunately, of fortunately, depending on your point of view, the children inherited their father’s Irish humor and a sense of adventure from their mother. As you can see this can lead to many stories, and this one does as well. It leads to my favorite story of the rather large collection of stories of the misadventures of these children.
This particular windy spring day, two of the boys were uninspired by the idea of simply flying a kite. Instead, they “borrowed” a parachute from the garage. They managed to drag and carry their new flying machine to the park, where through some sort of childhood selection process determined which one would be strapped to the chute and which one would simply hold on to his brother.
It just so happened that a man with a camera happened to see the boys as they were collecting bruises in the process of flying in the wind. Laughing, he managed to hold the camera steady enough to capture a rather entertaining action shot of the boy in the parachute and his brother clinging to him as they lofted up and down.
This had become somewhat of a family game unknown to the parents. In fact I have heard all seven accused of playing at one point or another. They might have gotten away with the entire thing again, and you knew this was coming, except…
Yes, the man worked at the newspaper with their father. When their father walked in, he learned of his children’s adventures because the picture of the boys, the parachute and the trouble was right there on the front page of the Memphis paper. It had been a slow news day.
I mention this story now and relate it to you for this reason. I knew the father in this story. He was the first person that gave me a clue as a small child that someone actually wrote and printed newspapers that they did not just mysteriously appear on the doorstep every morning. He was a witty man with good humor and a sharp mind who in later years moved out of Memphis and built a cabin on a lake in Mississippi. In his usual style, it went up as one room, and then became another and another and another, yet turned out with a very homey feel.
I tell you this in Irish style, which wanders about and around the point as a tribute to himself. He was one of the lads brave enough to marry one of the six Williams’ sisters in the first half of the century gone by and he was the last to leave his girl. For his name was Joseph Corcoran and him being my grand uncle, it seemed apt to write it now, so as to mark his passing from this world to the next on Wednesday last.
“May the light of the Lord shine from your eyes,
Like a candle in the window,
Welcoming the weary traveler”