Let me tell you about my award

Sometimes in this column I mention my five regular readers. That is because they are a constant in my literary life. They can be counted on to read my opinion piece every week, and sometimes they even read the news items I write about community issues, school board meetings, or city council topics. Many times they mention to me what they think about what I have written. It doesn't matter if they agree with me or not. It only matters that they've read what I put on paper. They are my "five regular readers" after all.

So . . . I was a more than a little taken aback several months ago when I was part of a team of writers who won two pretty big awards for "ag writing." Yeah, I know, isn't THAT a hoot? Me, the suburban Chicago kid getting some recognition for a piece about a wheat harvest in Kansas. I thought that at least the five regular readers would be guffawing and slapping their knees and hollering, "no way . . .!"

But no one even mentioned it. I mean no one! I even brought it up to a couple of farmer guys at the restaurant and the ag loan officer at Peabody State Bank. None of them batted an eye. They gave me that "yeah, sure you did" look.

Hoch Publishing ran great big ads in all of our papers congratulating the three of us who wrote the story and still no one commented on it. I finally sent the ad page to my mother. I must say she was most proud and excited to have me front and center, contributor to the number one wheat harvest article in the state for 2007. Thanks, Mom.

We won a first place award from the Kansas Press Association for the best agriculture story for non-daily newspapers of our size. Then Kansas Farm Bureau took all the first place winners in all categories and selected one winner from daily papers and one from non-daily papers. We won the Golden Wheat Award. Now how about that? They also gave a nifty cash prize to the winners. Of course ours was split three ways, but still it was a nice surprise.

I was really kind of hoping that winning the awards would boost the readership of the paper and I could then claim seven or eight regular readers. Or maybe just five new ones since the five seasoned readers weren't even paying attention!

In the meantime I am going to brag on the Peabody Gazette-Bulletin and the Hoch Publishing staff. I confess my contribution to the story was minimal since I am the city slicker who doesn't know the chaff from the wheat. But I did contribute and we did win. It was fun being in the running and getting an award I can tell about if I ever go to another class reunion.

If you get an interesting spin on this year's wheat harvest, I would be the local reporter to call since I am now one-third of the best ag reporting team in Kansas journalism.

And somehow I just know I am going to pay dearly for saying that.