March 26 • 06:23 AM

Farm Journal born from breakfast with Dwight

January 14, 2009
Editor's note: The following guest column was submitted by longtime area resident, farmer and writer Bob Linck. Along with being founding editor for the Thumb Farm News, Bob wrote a popular column and other pieces which appeared Farm & Country Journal.

I just read Randy Jorgensen's column "Dwight and his typewriter'' in the January 7, 2009 issue and I have some comments.

I was a 65-year-old semi-retired farmer but still writing a weekly farm column for the old Lapeer County Press.

I received a telephone call. A smooth, articulate male voice answered "This is Dwight Jarrell, editor of the paper here in Imlay City. I need some farm information. Would it be possible to talk with you? I'm buying breakfast tomorrow morning at the Silver Grill at 7 a.m.''' I said, "Sure.'' All my life my days had started at 5 a.m. in the barn so free breakfast at 7 a.m. sounded good.

The next morning when I arrived Dwight was at a table sipping coffee. He said, 'Sit down, Randy is supposed to be here but we can still get started.'' I ordered my bacon and eggs and Dwight started talking. He explained that here he was in a small town in farm country and didn't know a damn thing about farming. He said, "Our Tri-City Times needs a farm page,'' and would I advise them what they would need to put on a "Farm page.''

About this time the publisher, Randy, arrived yawnin' and scratchin' and waving for coffee. The discussion and head bumping continued until about 8 a.m. when Dwight sat up and said, "Hell Randy, we don't need a farm page, we need a farm newspaper and Bob, you'll be the editor.'' I replied, "Shucks Dwight, I'm no

journalist.'' Dwight said, "I don't want a journalist, I want a newspaper man. These educated journalists got all the common sense educated out of 'em.'' Several more breakfast meetings and the "Thumb Farm News'' was born.

Thus also a wonderful friendship. Our best times were evenings after work. Randy furnished the glasses. Dwight and I were the same generation, both of us were in World War II and with B-17 bombers. He flew 'em; I fixed 'em, he got shot up, I just got greasy. After the War he had a distinguished newspaper career. I stuck with farming. We would swap yarns but his were always more interesting, as were his philosophies. He told me about long nights on a newspaper's police beat. He said "at such times if you want good conversation and a good card game get with the local police chief and Catholic priest.''

Dwight professed to be an agnostic but he could never quite make it stick. True to form when he came to Imlay City he became a close friend of Father John Dunn, pastor of Sacred Heart Catholic Church. Another thing he could never make stick was a gruff disposition. When there was trouble or staff errors he could cuss, growl and chastise but no one took offense. He couldn't be mean but he could make his point.

When his health began to fail Dwight left the Tri-City Times but we continued our friendship. A short time later I paid him a visit. He was jubilant. He said, "Father Dunn baptized me and I'm in the church and due to receive the Sacraments.'' The straight talking, no nonsense Father Dunn had cleared his doubts.

Months later Dwight died. Attendance at his

funeral revealed a depth

of his influence I had not imagined with notables

from newspapers, politics, business, church and

government paying their respect. He had mingled

with some of the greatest

but never lost his

humility. May he

rest in God's peace.

Castle Creek
03 - 26 - 19
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