Good morning — Kim here. Thanks for dropping by.
Before we get too far along, I admit I’m a bit nervous. Even though I’ve worked as a staff writer at the Beacon Journal for nearly 25 years, it’s not easy to succeed someone who is as beloved in this community as Jewell Cardwell.
As many of you may know, Jewell retired earlier this month. And while I miss her, I’m thrilled that she is free to sleep in, travel, visit relatives or do nothing at all.
When a swarm of editors gathered to chat with me about whether I would be interested in writing this column, I was thrilled. What followed was sheer panic. It wasn’t the writing that concerned me. I’ve done plenty of that — including a story about an extraordinary woman whose estranged husband sprayed her with nitric acid, a charming little Russian girl whose first adoptive father severed her spine, a group of senior citizens who allowed me to watch as they mastered sultry moves on the dance floor and countless others. Instead, I worried about how I could follow someone who has gone into thousands of homes for more than two decades to share her thoughts over a cup of coffee.
Somewhere between pacing and popping antacids, I forced myself to face my fears. Sure, succeeding Jewell, and, before her, the late Fran Murphey, could have some challenges, but what an honor. Like them, writing about people, particularly everyday folks, is my passion.
After a few hours of self examination, I shook the last berry-flavored Tums out of the bottle. It fell and rolled across the kitchen counter. But rather than reaching for it, I let it be and took a deep breath. I reasoned that I wasn’t replacing Jewell, just following her. That I had already developed my own voice and was up for the job. But there’s a catch.
If we haven’t met, or even if we have, please introduce yourself. Visit me on Facebook, email me or send an old-fashioned letter. And three days a week, I ask that you invite me into the kitchen to share a cup of coffee.
I promise to tell you about the fella who lives down the street, the woman in the next town who is giving back to her community, heart-warming stories about people you don’t know — but would like to meet, and humorous vignettes that might just make you spit that mouthful of Maxwell House back into your cup.
Where to send information
Possible column ideas [silly or serious] are welcomed anytime. Information for upcoming fundraisers for someone who lives in our area or local causes should be sent no later than two weeks in advance of the event. Please include the time, date, place, your email and phone number and a short description that can be used in the paper.
Fundraisers benefiting a state or national organization should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Opportunities to give
• Sharon Parsons had a servant’s heart and routinely helped others who were in need. Now, Sharon’s family needs our help. Last week, she lost her battle with cancer.
The participants in the Green Family YMCA arthritis water class, where Sharon and her mother were swimmers, are hosting a special event to help with medical expenses.
A dinner, prepared by Santangelo’s Catering, will be available between 3 and 5 p.m. on Sunday at the Akron General Health & Wellness Center, 1940 Townpark Blvd., Green.
The rigatoni dinner is $8 for adults, $4 for children. There will be a silent auction and bake sale. While reservations aren’t necessary, if you know in advance that you will be coming, please call 330-201-3838 or 330-265-3698. Donations can also be made at any FirstMerit Bank in the name of the Sharon H. Parsons Benevolent Fund.
• Jim Tressel will be the emcee at the Mental Health America of Summit County’s (MHASC) annual Vegas Night fundraiser on June 6.
Mental illness is a growing problem that the organization is trying to help. MHASC advocates for individuals and families affected by mental illness and provides education and information regarding mental health issues to individuals and families.
Tickets, which must be purchased before June 1, are $40 or two for $75 and includes an all you can eat hors d’oeuvres, buffet, free drinks and $200 in casino chips.
The event begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Emidio and Sons Banquet Center, 48 E. Bath Road, Cuyahoga Falls. For more information or tickets call 330- 923-0688 or visit www.mhasc.net.