The empty desk

Published 3:49 pm Tuesday, July 5, 2016

For 46 years Joe Crine has occupied a desk in the newsroom at The Post Searchlight. For the last 13 years I have shared the room with Joe, and the last six have been spent at the desk next to his.

Joe and I, considered the two most “senior” news people, have held down the fort as other positions vacated and were replaced over and over with younger newsmen and women. We have carried on and helped the youngsters get acclimated as best we could.

Now, Joe has retired, leaving that chore to me.

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Joe’s desk, which was always piled high with papers, notes, photos, and various paraphernalia, as well as an occasional Mountain Dew can and chip wrapper, is now empty. Somehow he always managed to find what he was looking for, just like the dog that knows where he has buried the bone.

Joe’s memory for people and places over the years never ceases to amaze me. He was counted on to provide missing names, dates and occurrences many times. I only wish I could duplicate that memory resource.

Joe always seemed to know everyone who walked in the door of the paper, as they would call, “Hey Joe,” and he would reply, “Hey Buddy” to one and all.

Joe could be counted on to relive every athletic game with other members of the news staff, or the Buddies who came in to visit.

I did not always share his enthusiasm for certain football or baseball teams.

He had his favorites and I had mine; but I respected his knowledge of the game and his enthusiasm for sports in general.

Joe had a repertoire of favorite jokes he loved to tell.

Often they were jokes on himself, as he has the rare ability to laugh at his own mistakes.

Joe never turned down an assignment, no matter the subject matter.

I have always known him to be fearless, ready to tackle any story.

Although he was the sports editor, he covered everything from Lions Club meetings, weekend parades, Breakfast with Santa at the library, Rattlesnake Roundup, Climax Swine Time events and anything else that was asked of him. He loves to tell that he is the only non-resident of Climax to have attended every Swine Time. He even wrote about a wedding once.

In the beginning of his career Joe managed to type on a manual typewriter with one hand. Over the years he mastered the computer just enough to report his stories, and to seek help when his work magically disappeared from the screen.

Now, his desk is empty, cleared of all personal and business items, awaiting occupancy of the next reporter. It’s kinda lonesome here without him.

I wish him good health in his newly retired life, and I know our readers will miss his columns and articles. Joe is a legend — one of a kind, who can never be replaced.