In May 29 Issue
Russell County NewsBy Wade Daffron, Columnist
Nothin' like starting things off with a U2 song title...
And what's up with Bono hurting his back while “training” for the now-canceled American leg of their tour?
Could it be the once fiery, Irish crooner who used to bounce around the stage-waving a white flag is getting....old?
Ah, enough about them.
I'd like to get to something of particular importance and interest to me. (Please indulge me this one, selfish tome.)
Last month, my wife received a letter stating she had one “at least one first place award” in the Kentucky Press Association Ad & Design Contest.
As a Production Manager/Graphic Designer, for the newspaper, that's a pretty big deal.
Especially since this was the first contest she's entered.
She carried the letter with her every where she went for three weeks, and pretty much showed it to anyone who would look.
I “caught” her reading over it many time.
“Do you really think I won something?” she would ask.
I'd just shake my head and go on with whatever I was doing.
She was also excited to attend an awards banquet which was held last week at my old alma mater, Western Kentucky University.
The night before the banquet, she sheepishly asked if it would be “OK” if she looked for a new outfit to wear to the event.
She beamed with pride when she returned home with a complete outfit-head to toe (including shoes), for under $30.
“How does it look?” she asked, modeling it for me.
“Fine,” I nodded.
On the morning of the banquet, she was sick with nerves, and unfortunately, I kinda made fun of her.
“It's no big deal,” I said, “I used to go to those things all the time.”
Now that I think back on it, a look of hurt fell across her face when I said it was “no big deal.”
I proved my further insensitivity when she worried about not being able to find her way around campus.
“Gosh!” I said, “it's just Western!”
“I never went to college,” she said, somewhat embarrassed.
We had a good meal (at which, of course, I had to make some kind of crack about her being a vegetarian), and proceeded to the awards presentation.
After a few minutes, of listening to winners in various categories, we learned she, and The Times Journal, had won a second place award.
I saw her panic, as if she feared there had been a mistake, or cruel joke.
A little later, her first place award was announced.
I looked over and saw a tear form in the corner of her eye, and a smile fighting through her tightened lips.
I reached over and patted on her, and looked to make my escape.
Then another first place award was announced to “Renee' Daffron...”
And several more second and third place honors.
And to top it all a third place, “bronze” award for General Excellence.
I couldn't even remember the last time a local newspaper even place in that category.
After the awards ceremony, she scooped of the award just as she would one of her children, and happily posed for photos.
There she was, beaming from ear-to-ear, funky hair, under $30 outfit, and all.
I still don't think she realized she went up against, and beat the pants off, newspapers all across the state of Kentucky.
She's in the “big leagues” now for sure, but being the humble person she is, she'll never show it.
On those rare occasions when I actually have some sense, I may throw a compliment her way, but I'm glad her talent has been recognized by others.
She is totally deserving of the accolades.
I was “awarded” through all of this, myself.
I realized I need to show her my appreciation.
It would be silly to hold a big, public event to express my feelings, or get a plaque made up saying as much.
I just wish there was some way to say, “Ellen Renee' Stephens Daffron, I love you, and I'm proud of you.”
Oh wait...I just did.