I’m not a political reporter. I’m a feature writer, columnist, editor of a newspaper lifestyles section and local quarterly women’s magazine. I love all that, but it’s sure not glamorous.
If you know me and my work, you know that.
You also know that I'm the one who posts the chicken-noodle dinners and meeting notices in a community calendar. I type in club-news reports and back when brides still put in long write-ups about their weddings, typed miles of stories about tulle and sweetheart roses. I also stomp around 4-H fairs and help paint the break room.
Duties at a small daily paper are, let’s say, varied.
But you never know when something unique will come your way, as it always does if you stick around long enough. I stick around. Eight years ago, Bill Clinton stumped for Hillary and Barack Obama dropped by on his own behalf – in the same weekend -- in Henry County, Indiana.
Our sports editor, John Hodge, God rest his soul, was called into duty to give the Illinois senator a tour around the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame. The stop was at the senator’s personal request, not as a prescribed media stop for show.
Once again, Hoosiers are told they have the rare opportunity for their votes to matter in any kind of real way (oh, I know, we have a duty to vote. Spare me that lecture. But let’s face it: If Indiana mattered in the national picture, the big names would be around every election cycle).
Ted Cruz’s dad was in New Castle a week and a half ago. Bernie’s people have inquired about dropping by.
When would we hear from The Donald? Or Hillary or Bernie?
So today word came that Donald is coming to the Indiana State Fairgrounds tomorrow. I wondered aloud if I could get media credentials. My coworkers looked a bit surprised at my musings. And if I could get them, would my paper be in favor of sending me?
My pitch was that I’d go as an observer, not a political reporter, to witness the goings-on of a Donald Trump rally. Get some photos. Talk to the local folks if I can find any. And then wrap it all up in a column about the experience.
As I awaited the “pending” notice on my media inquiry to turn into what I hoped was a green light, our area sister newspapers were contacted and so far, three have said they would like to run what I write.
By mid-afternoon, the green light rolled into my email in-box. I'm in.
The rally is at 3 but my day starts in Indy early in the morning for round one, the check-in. Then we leave and return a bit later. The whole shebang ends way after our Thursday deadline so my work will appear in Friday’s community papers.
That’s why I’m posting my Wednesday blog now. I’ll need to keep my first-string observations fresh for my employer so I won’t be writing about the experience in a blog tomorrow. But I imagine I'll still have plenty to say later.
No matter what you think of Trump, surely we can agree that he’s an interesting character and this election cycle is certainly not predictable, nor is it run of the mill. And we're far from done.