My good friend and journalistic mentor Bruce Wallace seldom gave me unsolicited advice. Bruce, like most wise folks, understood that unsolicited advice is typically ignored by the recipient. Luckily for me, I recognized that if Bruce thought something was important enough to share with me, then I’d better pay attention. One such tip was “Never bury the lede.” Webster’s says, “In journalism, the lede refers to the introductory section of a news story that is intended to entice the reader to read the full story.” The lede usually includes the most important and relevant information of a story, which is precisely why a writer should avoid burying it deep within the text of his or her piece. In other words, Bruce was telling me, “Naughton, hurry up and get to the point!” He was absolutely right of course. In the digital age, people have shorter attention spans than ever before. Does reading a book take an eternity? Why not watch the movie version instead? Is a full-length movie too long to sit through? If so, why not try a half-hour program on television? Don’t have thirty minutes to spare? Now there’s a new app for your smartphone called Quibi that lets you watch a condensed show while you are waiting to do something else in which you will quickly lose interest. Where was I going with this? Oh, yes. I remember. “Get to the point, Naughton!” That is precisely what I intend to do, because I have the good sense to take the sage advice of a career newspaper man who once told me not to bury the lede. So, without further ado, I will reveal that which I should have revealed at the outset. But before I do, I would like to offer my sincere apologies to Bruce Wallace for not following his advice in this case. It must be frustrating for Bruce to see his protégé writing about (and ignoring) his words of wisdom in the very pages of the newspaper that he poured his heart and soul into for so many years. I also owe you the reader an apology, because your time is precious, and you don’t deserve to have a hack like me cause you to feel as though you have wasted a moment of such a valuable commodity. Please forgive me. I can only hope that when all is at last revealed, the ensuing information will have been worth the wait. Some things are worth the wait. Others, not so much. Slow-cooked beef brisket is almost always worth the wait. A McRib sandwich? Not really. That’s just one man’s opinion though. You are, of course, entitled to your own opinion on which meats are worth waiting for. Maybe you prefer a smoked pork butt. Who am I to judge? We don’t have to agree. One thing we can all agree upon is that in this particular instance, the lede has unquestionably been buried. I’m almost to the end of my allotment of words, and yet I’ve managed to avoid revealing the point of this meandering and seemingly pointless missive. I’m just glad you’ve managed to hang around this long. Honestly, if it were the other way around, I would have watched a Quibi or two by now. Nevertheless, let’s cut to the chase, shall we? (By the way, the expression “cut to the chase” is attributed to filmmaker Hal Roach, Sr of ‘Laurel and Hardy’ and ‘Our Gang’ fame. [For your information, ‘Laurel and Hardy’ were a legendary comedy duo from the early Classical Hollywood era, and ‘Our Gang’ is a comedy franchise also known as ‘The Little Rascals’. {Alfalfa was my favorite Little Rascal, by the way.}]) Oh dear, I’m afraid I got sidetracked again. My point is that it’s time to get to the point. What I’ve been trying to say is this: I am going to be a grandfather. When my son Alex told me the news, I had but one request; “I don’t want to be referred to as ‘Granddad’, ‘Grandpa’, or any variation thereof.” My only grandfather that I ever knew passed away over thirty years ago. He was “Granddad”. Instead, I asked to be called “Pop”, because that’s what Alex has called me for years—and I love it. With a due date in early October, it will be six months before Pop gets to meet his first grandchild. Baby Naughton will definitely be worth the wait.

By: Travis Naughton