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I'm blogging now?

A blog? Our Executive Editor (yes, he's my son) thinks I should communicate with the world. When I asked him “what should I communicate?” his reply was “stuff...but make it cutting edge.”

I swear, he's more like his mother than ever (thank God).

After days of deliberation, as to what I might say that would mean anything, make a moral difference, etc., I was at a complete loss. During this time my cell phone, which was another cutting-edge thing that came into my life about 10 years after everyone else was already proficient with one, went south. I first tried to get help from the service provider via telephone, one that actually has a wire running to it from somewhere outside, and it was beginning to look like he was going to help me get it working. That is until he asked me to remove the back of it, so I could remove my...sim? I couldn't get the back off, he got frustrated, said he'd call me back, he did, but I was on another line, and I guess he got tired of waiting, because he hung up. OK, so I didn't have his number. I wasn't up to starting from scratch with a new person, so decided I'd just go to the local T-Mobile store and have them help me.

Problem. The last time I went to a cell phone store, in fact, every time I've gone into a cell phone store, I felt like I was talking with a used car salesman from L.A. But, I've become very attached to my cell phone, despite making fun of its existence...and soccer moms (and dads) driving SUVs while talking on them.
Where does this story end? It doesn't. It is only the beginning...the beginning of me figuring out some of the topics that my blog could include; people I know who take the time to go beyond being helpful, even if they're not going to make any money on it. In this case, it was Ivan Nava, whose title is Sr. Retail Sales Representative for the T-Mobile store at California and Real. This young guy (a phrase said in envy of anyone more than 25 years younger than myself) was the most courteous, helpful, and downright nice person, despite being told up front “I'm not buying another phone, I just want the one I have to work.”
He spent about 30 minutes all together, and finally figured out the problem. Lo and behold, I walked out with my problem solved (seems you shouldn't leave you cell phone on the bathroom counter next to the sink) and a plan to tell everyone I know to go see this young man when they want a new cell phone. However, I did feel badly he spent time with me, when he could have been selling someone a new phone, so I spent $21.46 for a cell phone case. I realized afterwards that he demonstrated the kind of customer service that I've always demanded from our own sales staff.

And while I'm handing out praises for those who go beyond the expected, I must thank the many, many people who have called, sent cards, even approached me in public to express their feelings regarding the loss of Donna Corum, the founding publisher of Bakersfield Magazine, and my life-long love. It's one thing to have family, friends, and neighbors express their condolences, but people we had never met came forward simply because they loved the magazine she nurtured for over 25 years.

And speaking of neighbors, I hope you live in the kind of neighborhood I do. From the very moment we moved into this corner of southwest Bakersfield, we felt it was the kind of neighborhood that you found back in the good old days (that would be the '50s) when neighbors cared for each other. However, even though we have lived there for nearly a decade, there were a number of neighbors we actually hadn't met, beyond a wave or a hello as they drove or walked past our home. I'm happy to say that the last couple of months I've come to know almost all of them. I can't tell you how many casseroles, soups, cakes, and baked cookies I've had delivered to my door. We certainly have a great neighbors and a lot of good cooks.

Of course I can't send higher praises to anyone without thanking publicly Heidi and Jarrod McNaughton and Greg Heyart. Yes they're neighbors, but so much more; the kind of people that were always there to help in so many ways...who reminded us what makes friendship so meaningful. Thanks for your caring support of Donna, and for your ongoing concern for my own well-being. Of course there are many more neighbors who became a big part of our lives during Donna's ordeal, including Pat and Norm Stanley, Shirley and Jim Iseminger, and Cathy Sayers. They need to know how much Donna and I appreciated their friendship and caring ways especially during her last months.

Well, now that my fingers have done a whole lot of walkin' I think I'll blog my way out, but not before I say thanks to a great group of dedicated employees who have all inherited the passion that Donna had for Bakersfield Magazine. Dale Heflin, Brigit Ayers, and Cheryl Rydia could be called the financiers of the organization, in that they are responsible for the sale of advertising space, which of course, enables the company to publish what has become the best of the best in local publications. Next in line is Anika Henrikson, Assistant Editor and talented writer charged with following through on the editorial assignments, including managing some of the best freelance writers in the county—strike that—best anywhere! As well as writing many of the articles herself. Assisting her is Isabel Alvarez, who joined us early last year as a trainee and has become a very capable photographer and a budding writer. Two of our very important staffers are Ryan Turner, who makes sure all the computers talk to each other, and Melissa Galvan, Administrative Assistant, who handles a variety of duties including accounting, distribution, and human resources. The actual production of the magazine is carried out by Chuck Barnes, Creative Director, and Laura Turner, Graphic Artist. It is the work of these people, under the guidance of Mike, our Executive Editor, that makes Bakersfield Magazine the best. Period.

More of Les later...