Mt. Vernon Register-News

October 30, 2007

More on 'Lucky Ol Walt'

1:45 p.m., Oct. 30, 2007

I am the type of person who cherishes each congratulatory or “thank you” card, letter or e-mail that I get. In fact, there is a post-it note on my monitor right now which reads, “I am very glad that Jeremy Hall is back at the R-N!!”

When you hear so often about the mistakes you make in this business, or the inadequacies in coverage, it is nice to remember there are some people happy at least some of the time.

A recent e-mail, however, deserves sharing with readers. I had written a column about Walt Maynor and the book he managed to finish before he died. I met Walt a few years ago while working as sports editor at the Register-News and was immediately impressed with him. Well into his 70s, he was teaching tennis and helping kids get college scholarships.

His book was as interesting a read as I had anticipated, laced with Walt’s gift of storytelling. In my column, I said while Maynor’s book was called, “Lucky ‘Ol Walt,” those of us who met him are the real lucky ones.

His daughter Barbara sent a nice letter of appreciation for the column, and told me the story of how the book came to be. Here is part of what she said in her e-mail:

“Last night I came across a book I had given my dad in 9/05 called ‘Legacy From a Father’ asking all kinds of questions a father can answer and leave for his kids. At the beginning I had written — ‘Let’s start the book.’ I did not realize until last night that he ever even opened it. He had, answered a few questions and then was off and running on his own. He was so afraid that book would never get done.

“There is so much more to the story. He told me he was not going to live long, and he had not been sick at all, just knew. I thought he was afraid about the book so I told my out-of-town company they were on their own and I dedicated that weekend to finish up what he had written.

“The gal that had been working on it had computer problems, nothing was saved, wrong format, you name it. I’m sure she was not happy with me that weekend but through the Internet, we did it. I ran it to Kinko’s to get a copy printed.

“The guy who waited on me, ‘Angel,’ promised it would be ready for me in 24 hours. We Fed Expressed it and they arrived with the copy of the book as the paramedics were loading my dad in the ambulance heading to the hospital. He got to see it done and stayed around long enough to read it and give it his stamp of approval.”

Even Walt’s book itself was an interesting story.