Snapshots by Gloria Freeland - Feb. 12, 2010

Bumps in the road are OK

The past couple of weeks have had a few bumps in the road.

Since I'm in charge of planning the centennial for Kansas State University's journalism and mass communications school, I've been contacting folks all across the country. Or so I thought! Responses had been particularly slow in coming. When I sent a few reminders, many people said they had never received my earlier mailing. A few experiments directed by husband Art revealed that messages sent using my regular mail program on my work computer only made it through occasionally, while all other channels worked fine. Things went downhill when three technicians were unable to solve the problem.

Then Saturday, I somehow hurt my ankle, and the sharp pain and growing swelling had me wondering if it was more than a simple sprain. It wasn't, but our doctor suggested I treat it gingerly a few days and wear a small brace. The e-mail problem at work had pretty much wasted a couple of work days and the thought of missing another was unappealing. Yet hobbling around the halls and walkways of campus didn't sound like fun either. But after assessing the work materials I had brought home Friday, I was confident I could have a productive Monday at home.

The next change of plans occurred Monday morning when Art discovered the Internet tower near home was out of service. One of the first things I do when I settle down to work is check my e-mail. But, after I thought about it a bit, perhaps being unable to connect wasn't such a bad thing. While it's nice to be up-to-the-minute on everything, it can also mean being distracted by a bunch of small things that really aren't that important. With no new messages to react to, I would be in a better position to make some progress on the work that was supposed to be my focus.

Tuesday the ankle was enough better that I risked going to campus. The techs, still unable to solve my e-mail problem, decided to install the program I use at home. It worked immediately! So once again, I could get down to business.

Thursday was also a bit bumpy. Harold Dwyer, wife Darlene, daughter Kay and son-in-law Rick were passing through on the way to Florida and wanted to see how the new K-State WWII memorial was coming along. We were due to meet them at Harry's for lunch. Harold's brother Stanley had been a K-State journalism student before World War II. Both men became B-17 pilots, but Stanley never made it back home.

"How's your schedule?" Art asked me. When I told him I had a 1:30 p.m. meeting and another at 2:30 p.m., he responded immediately.

"An hour will never be enough for lunch," he said. "You know how we talk."

I moved the earlier meeting to an hour later and postponed the other to different day. Art's advice was right. By 2:20 p.m., we were just getting to the memorial site. I had also forgotten to bring my camera, but co-worker Kristin grabbed one from the department and met us there.

Looking back, in each of these situations things had gone differently than what I planned or expected. But everything still turned out fine.

And I have a hunch the same will be true of "Snapshots." I've loved the last eight-plus years of contributing to The Riley (Kan.) Countian. Readers near and far have received my efforts well. Still, I occasionally felt the space and format limitations it placed on me, while the editor frequently needed the room for news coverage.

So, as with all of the other unexpected course shifts in this past week, I fully expect this one - the move from the world of paper and ink to cyberspace - will work out just fine.

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