, Muskogee, OK


April 11, 2010

Good news, bad news, and it’s still a bad song

I have some good news, and I have some bad news. Actually, they’re both the same news.

I have been with the Phoenix for 15 years, and I am with them no more. I’m moving on without really moving anywhere.

But I want to thank Phoenix readers for putting up with me for 15 years. It’s been a good relationship overall, at least from my point of view.

The only time anyone’s come close to punching me, that person was a Tulsa World correspondent, not a Muskogee resident, at a Muskogee County court hearing.

Everyone has treated me with respect and goodwill, and I don’t for a minute count that toward anything I’ve done, but the patience and good nature of the people of eastern Oklahoma.

I have many good memories of working at the Phoenix, but here are a few highlights:

• About six years ago I interviewed a Vietnam vet who had a pet cockatoo. When I entered his apartment, the cockatoo promptly flew to a perch on my shoulder, moved down my arm to my reporter’s notebook and tore the pages to shreds with his beak.

• In 1996, three young men were shot outside the mall. Two were on the ground bleeding. When I walked into the middle of the scene, police were hunkered down behind patrol cars with guns drawn. I said, “Hey, what’s going on?” An officer grabbed me, pulled me behind a squad car, and said, “David, what’s the matter with you? There still might be someone out there with a gun.”

• After a plane wreck about 10 years ago, I was interviewing a transportation official when Bill Mitchell of Channel 8 commandeered my interview to get his TV coverage. He did that a lot, butt in. It turned out good for me. What Bill didn’t know was that a friend of the dead pilot was there for a few minutes, and Bill drove me away where I discovered the friend and I got the better interview. Touché, Bill.

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