Jefferson Awards

I think I was more disappointed than Jacques that he wasn’t one of the five finalists for the national Jefferson Award.  He took it in stride, and saw the award, and its coverage on television and in This Week Community Newspapers, as benefiting his goal of reducing, if not eliminating, hunger in Central and Southeastern Ohio.

The ceremony wasn’t a banquet, as I thought it would be.  There was a ceremony, hosted by Angela Pace and Chuck White, Public Affairs Director and Public Affairs Director Emeritus, respectively, of WBNS-TV, Channel 10.  There were speeches by Ohio’s First Lady, Frances Strickland, and Mayor Mike Coleman, and then they announced the five finalists.  When Jacques saw video rolling, featuring interviews and a two- or three-minute vignette about the honorees’ causes and activities, he knew he wasn’t a finalist, because no camera crew or TV reporter had spoken to him.

We did get a free meal out of it, because there were finger foods and refreshments in the foyer outside the hall at the McCoy Center after the ceremony.  I spoke with Chuck White briefly.  Since Angela Pace had introduced him as “Mr. Tree,” I told him about how Luci’s Toy Shop had been my favorite children’s program in my pre-school years, and how I didn’t want to go to kindergarten because it would mean missing the show.  (White was the puppeteer for the program, which ran on WBNS from 1960 to 1973.  Mr. Tree was one of the characters.)

Luci’s Toy Shop was also where my name was first broadcast on mass media.  On my fourth birthday, Luci said happy birthday to me and all other kids born on April 29th.

Jacques made contact with other people, including his fellow nominees, about possibly joining forces for their respective causes.  That, he said, made the award worth it, even if he is not in the running for the national award.

Jacques and me before leaving for New Albany
Jacques and Angela Pace
Angela Pace and me
I am seeing a pulmonologist on the 12th about the cough that has become as much a part of me lately as my beard.  Each day I think that maybe I’ve overcome it, or it’s improving, but then I take a deep breath and I’m brought back to reality.  The chest X ray I had at Mount Carmel West turned up nothing, and neither codeine nor antibiotics have stopped it.
So we’ll see.  

Playing Hooky with the State’s Full Blessing

This is my last “cost-savings day” for this fiscal year, so I didn’t get out of bed until 9 a.m.  (In our last contract, the union agreed to take 10 unpaid days off per year.  To make this less of a blow to the pocketbook, 3.2 hours are deducted from each paycheck during the life of the contract.)

I’m typing this before I leave for the McCoy Community Center for the Arts in New Albany.  My friend Jacques Angelino is a finalist for the Jefferson Award, given by WBNS-TV (Channel 10) and Nationwide Insurance.  This is an award honoring extraordinary public service and achievement.  I nominated Jacques because of his tireless, single-minded efforts to end hunger in Central and Southeastern Ohio–mainly through this weekly trips to the Feed My Sheep food pantry in Mineral, Ohio.  Since I nominated him, I’m invited to the award ceremony.  Jacques, accompanied by his 96-year-old mother, will be picking me up soon.

This isn’t a black-tie affair, fortunately.  Jacques is wearing blue jeans, he told me on the phone.  I’m wearing a button-down oxford and black jeans.  I joked with him about whether we’d wear tuxedos.  (The last time I wore a tuxedo was when I was a best man at a friend’s wedding.)