That equates to about 160 columns, more than 75,000 words and too many hours to count. I haven’t missed a week, haven’t taken a vacation. A deadline is a deadline, after all, and I haven’t missed a one.
With the New Year upon us, it is as good a time as any to reflect back on 2013. As many of you have noted - thanks to the email address at the bottom of each column- I do on occasion make mistakes. That is not my intention. I put a lot of time and energy into these, and make every effort to turn in accurate and cleanly written columns week in and week out.
I do appreciate being told when there is an error. With that being written, here are the greatest “misses” of the year.
Over the summer I wrote a piece on Fritz Orr III, the grandson of Fritz Orr, who ran a camp and club on what is now the campus of Westminster. In it I wrote about young Orr III canoeing around Buckhead. Many readers pointed out that the Fritz Orr campers may have canoed in the swimming pool, but the only streams and rivers they canoed in were far away from here.
October was an especially challenging month for this columnist. I couldn’t file a story without a few emails setting me straight. I wrote about the building the Galloway School in Buckhead is currently housed in, and wrote that particular building’s history as an almshouse. Several readers took umbrage with the fact that I left out the Chastain Arts Center, which was the almshouse for African-Americans. That is a good story and one I hope to write in the coming month.
That same month I wrote about the original Peachtree Presbyterian Church, but there were more than a few errors. Apparently there are some conflicting histories of the church out there, some more accurate than others.
These are to say nothing of my grammatical errors, of which there are too many to list. Thankfully there are readers with a much firmer grasp of the written word than this earnest columnist and they aren’t afraid to let me know this. My brain is wired in a way that is as unique as a snowflake. It serves me well most of the time, but when it comes to rules and arithmetic, it fails me time and again.
I have my “Elements of Style” right here on my desk, and too many style and usage books to list. I don’t crack them enough, but I do want to thank my editor, Everett Catts, for eliminating a lot of my mistakes. Believe it or not, when these are printed, you are actually reading a vastly improved version thanks to his keen eye and mind. I also want to thank the people who read this column and especially those who send me notes, both complimentary and critical.
I will continue to write these columns despite my obvious shortcomings for one reason and one reason only: I enjoy writing them. So I will soldier forth, hoping each column, each piece I write, is just a little better than the one that precedes it. Here’s to an improved 2014.
Buckhead resident Thornton Kennedy is a sixth-generation Atlantan and a former news editor of this paper. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.