Home for the Holidays

It’s always nice to go home for the holidays. Because of the years I spend working in local TV news, I’ve missed a few holidays with the family over the years. The nice thing about that is there are usually more than a few folks in the same boat, so there’s a bunch of folks willing to put together an ad hoc holiday event for people who can’t get home.

Older brother & younger brother (youngest couldn’t make the trip)

About the time I got to CNN, it wasn’t a problem any more.  Even though in 8 years, I only had two weeks on a Monday-Friday schedule, I usually had Thursday and Friday off, so I could make a quick Wednesday run to get home for Thanksgiving and another Friday run to get back to work on Saturday. My problem is a little different now.  I can get the time off, but now that I’m involved with the delightful Pam Roberson, we have to deal with that “couple” issue of where and how to spend the holidays. She lives across the street from her parents, and a lot of extended family is in Memphis, so it’s very easy for them to get together (and they get together a lot).  Most of my family is about 600 miles away in Columbus, so there’s a little driving involved.

The Ladies

We were in Columbus together earlier this year, so I came up alone this time. Her daughter just moved back to Memphis, so I could understand her hanging out in Tennessee.  It’s always nice to come home to see how everyone is doing. Everyone’s a little older, which is a drag for the grown-ups, but good for kids, although it’s always kind of spooky to see a niece or nephew a few inches taller, or hear a voice start to change and such. Two of my brothers, my brother-in-law and I sat at the kids table this year and spent a few minutes talking about the aches, pains, creaks and groans that afflict us a little more each year.

Eddie, Kara & Lance

The passage of time is always too fast. One nephew already has a masters degree, the other is a few years away from that, but he’s a little bigger every time I see him. And my niece is already as tall as her mother. Still, they get a little older, their personalities develop a little more (not so much for Eddie, since he’s actually been an adult for several years now).

I haven’t lived in Columbus since 1986, but I do come back enough to keep up with a lot of what’s going on. Over 25 years, a lot of things do change, but it’s kind of interesting to see how many things don’t change over time. Skyline, local sights, things like that that are pretty much the same as when I left. Some of the TV stations are clinging to a small market look. I don’t think I’ll stay long enough for the big Ohio State-Michigan game on Saturday. This is probably one of those years that’s best forgotten for Buckeye fans. The good news is for Michigan fans. Barring disaster, they’ll notch their first win in the series in 8 games. I’m just waiting for OSU to name Urban Meyer to the head coaching job. If anything, it’s a shame that I don’t have more time off. A lot of times, these holiday visits seem like drive-bys, since I’ve only got a day or two to spend before heading back to the land o’ Elvis. Pam and I still have to discuss what we’re doing for Christmas, although I think I’ll probably be in Memphis with her family.

When the news isn’t good

On my way to Ohio, I got an email from a friend at CNN with some very bad news. A former co-worker and her husband were on the road, on their way to visit family for the holiday when a tractor-trailer jumped the dividing line and crashed into them head on. Her husband, a long-time anchor for CNN Radio, was killed in the crash. My friend Angi is in an Alabama hospital, waiting for surgery. Much of her family is there with her – but what terrible thing for all of them to have to cope with. I hope she’s heartened by the outpouring from her friends on Facebook. We love you kid, and hope you get through this.

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About Doug Johnson

I spent 25 years in the news business, working in print, radio and television. After a steady rise to the middle, I made the leap to the private sector, which chewed and then tried spitting me out after 2 years. I zigged (instead of zagging) into a position in television production.
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2 Responses to Home for the Holidays

  1. M.C. Johnson says:

    I really enjoyed ‘Home for the Holidays’ – especially the photos. It’s like you did it just for me. I really felt like I had been there with all of you. Thanks – I love you. Mom

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