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Away from the TV Set

By RD Heldenfels Published: December 7, 2005

I spend most of my work time watching TV, thinking about what I've seen and writing about what I think. But some days I go beyond that. I mentioned the story about the Indians' TV deal earlier this week, and also noted I was heading for Canton. Let me tell you about that.

On Tuesday afternoon, I spent a couple of hours in the Church of the Savior, also known as William McKinley's church. ''History Detectives'' was there, taping a show with a McKinley connection, and I was there to watch them work.

The church is gorgeous, with a soaring, high ceiling, and stitch-illustrated pads on the pew where McKinley and his wife sat. The TV work was for the most part boring, as TV work so often is, since it involves doing things repeatedly, setting up cameras, and talking about what's going to be talked about. Still, I had a good time for a couple of reasons.

First, I'm intrigued by history, and this story was leading into another interesting one, involving a flag owned by the church. (My story was in Thursday's Beacon Journal and you can find it here.)

The other reason was that I had a nice chat with Mr. Odell. His daughter, Beth, is chair of the church's history and archives committee, so she was on hand to provide information about McKinley's connections to the church, and Mr. Odell -- I never got his first name -- was there to watch all the goings-on. Since things don't really go on for long stretches, we talked about our lives, what we'd done over the years, just conversation. But it helped to pass the time, and there's always something of interest in a life other than your own.

Eventually I left, but my travels weren't done for the week. This morning, I went to the office and put together my weekly mailbag column, then worked some more on the Canton story (which required some calls and e-mail on top of what I had gathered at the scene), then went over to the University of Akron for a speech by a local cable-system executive. Not the most exciting of speeches, although I did want to ask the executive afterward what he meant when he referred to ''creative writing'' in some of the reporting about the Indians' TV deal. I knew what my sources were, and what I had done to nail down information. But I eventually decided to let it go.

And the speech had gotten me out of the office, and I saw some people I knew there, and both chatted and talked business a bit. The walk across the UA campus -- which is a short hike from the Beacon Journal -- was pretty enjoyable, the sunshine taking the edge off the cold. It eased some of my misery about winter. (There have already been too many mornings of scraping off the car.) By the time I got back to the office, I was feeling pretty pleasant. The speech story was simple, (and you can find it here). Then I finally tackled the Canton piece. I think it came out all right. It should be in the paper tomorrow and I'll post a link to it here if it is.

So where did all this leave me at the end of the day? Glad to be home. (Dinner was easy: leftoverfest.) Eager to see the new ''Veronica Mars'' tonight. And staring at a pile of DVDs I need to sample for the DVD column I have to write tomorrow.

But there's always something, isn't there? I haven't even gotten around to writing about last night's ''Nip/Tuck'' yet...

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