January 9th, 2011
Small town newspapers sometimes carry the personality of the editor. Such is the case in Protection, Kansas. Bob Greer edits the newspaper there. For 25 years and a lifetime before that, he's been doing what he loved.
"It's just a good place to live. I wish more people could go back to the rural areas."
"I'm not interested in mowing the lawn, I'm not interested in housing, but I am interested in the flow of life."
That 'flow of life' in Protection, Kansas is largely rural and it is reflected in the pages of the Protection Press. It is a lively publication laced by the wit and charm of the man who runs it.
"I stumbled, tripped and fell into journalism as a boy. Before I could even read or write I wanted to be a reporter."
Soon to be 85, and like all newspaper editors has a specific way of doing things. No computer for him. He writes on one of five typewriters.....in his kitchen.
"I don't do it for show. I do it because this is the way I've always done it. I don't resist change, but I'm lying....I do."
His imperfect typing is corrected by a loyal staff and his pile of newspapers and just plain stuff, is reflected both at home and at the office. Teresa Jellison has worked for him for years.
"We don't know where anything is. That's why we just leave it for him."
(Teresa Jellison) "The years of knowledge this man has about every subject there is, that's really special. We've had many, many discussions in this room about....everything....."
"And you've been wrong about all of them."
(Teresa Jellison) "Yes, and I am wrong about all of them."
Over at Don's Restaurant, the coffee klatch is gathering and Bob knows there is someone there who may give him a story. So while 'Don' watches the grill, the town chatters....sometimes about Bob.
(Cafe Patron) "He's important to this town and he covers all the major events. "
(Cafe Patron) "I think it's important for small towns to have this coverage because it unites the town."
(Cafe Patron) "He's just something special."
While Bob does much of his writing at his kitchen table, his office staff betrays some of his other secrets.
His 'Bobbing Along Broadway' weekly column is full of folksy personal chatter like this:
"During the last 22 days, I walked three miles each day inside the apartment. It was sizzling hot outside. I sure wasn't speedy but I got it done. I am also down to my lowest weight in several years, though I am still too hog-like."
"Another thing too, I'm crazy about is that I don't mind paying taxes. That's unheard of, but every time I drive down the road, I say...this is my road."
This beloved editor though, not without his eccentricities at work.
(Teresa Jellison) "This is Bob's napkin drawer. If Bob can't find a scrap of paper to write on, he will get a napkin he's gotten at the local cafe or where ever and he writes stories on napkins."
"It takes all kinds to write on napkins."
" I don't what I am except that I'm a reporter, it's what I've wanted to be since I was a little boy and I'm so lucky."