Tonawanda News — Hanging on my fridge at home is the very first picture I had running with this column.
The photo was taken by my friend and colleague Doug Benz, who was charged with capturing my then-infant daughter Penny and me in a “just right” moment. I had just taken over as the paper’s features editor in February 2008, and I began writing a parenting column — then named Daddy’s Little Girl — in an attempt to offer a male perspective on parenting.
I’ve passed by the picture hundreds of times. It’s ridiculously outdated now — Rigby is more than three times as old as Penny was when that picture was taken at 7 months of age — but it reminds me of when this, what’s usually one of my favorite tasks to perform, all started.
One time recently while passing by the fridge, I looked at the picture and thought back. By an unofficial count, factoring in fellow columnist Jill Keppeler’s maternity leave and other occasional fill-ins, I’ve written around 200 versions of this column (You’ve read and cherished each one, I’m sure; I’d be happy to swing by some time and sign the scrapbooks I don’t doubt you’re keeping).
So, in having taken dozens and dozens of stabs at capturing the pleasures and pitfalls of parenting, I’ve had plenty of hits. I mean, a TON of great stories. But occasionally, maybe, there have been a few duds.
OK, that happens with every writer. Even Stephen King has laid an occasional egg.
But Stephen King wasn’t writing about the two most important people in his life and the lives of nearly everyone he knows.
And he probably didn’t get nearly the ... let’s say, fervent reaction when the results weren’t up to par.