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Ramona's Ramblings

At the company picnic

Ramona Jan
Posted 10/12/21

In my lifetime, I’ve worked for some incredible companies and they’ve all had ‘picnics’ of sorts. For example, in NYC, I worked as an audio engineer at both Mediasound and …

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Ramona's Ramblings

At the company picnic


In my lifetime, I’ve worked for some incredible companies and they’ve all had ‘picnics’ of sorts. For example, in NYC, I worked as an audio engineer at both Mediasound and Power Station recording studios. At Media, our company ‘picnics’ were held at the Dakota, home of John Lennon and many other luminaries. One of the parties was held in Rudolf Nureyev’s apartment where I celebrated with Luther Vandross, Bruce Springsteen, Barry Manilow and more.

Power Station ‘picnics’ were held on West 53rd Street at the studio itself, the last one occurring in October of 2017. At that reunion, I saw old friends including late night TV musicians Paul Schaffer and Will Lee, record producer and Deft Punker, Nile Rogers, American composer and arranger Charley Calello and more. As exciting as these company soirees were, none was more thrilling to attend as last Tuesday’s Sullivan County Democrat ‘annual’ picnic; dubbed ‘annual’ even though nobody could quite remember when the last one occurred.

I’m new to the paper and wanted to meet everyone involved particularly my nemesis, Hudson Cooper (Random Thoughts). I say ‘nemesis’ because he has the Friday column, which I perceive as the better slot based on my imagination that people read more newspapers on Friday.

Okay, maybe the term nemesis is a bit harsh seeing that it’s defined as a long-standing rival; an archenemy. Since I’ve only been at the paper for about two months, it may be unfair to say ‘long-standing’ unless, of course, two months is long for me and it may very well be. Archenemy may also be a bit of a stretch, however, stretching the truth is part of my job especially when considering my slogan: Stories are best recounted not necessarily as they happened, but as they should have happened.

I must admit that upon meeting Hudson, I had expected a much younger man. What I got was a very sharp, witty guy about the same age as me who, as an actor, played a detective on Law and Order for ten years. Hudson, who continues to work as an actor, also published fourteen books as compared to my measly two, one of which was basically a picture book. Hudson wasted no time in telling me that he preferred to think of us as ‘cohorts’ rather than nemeses. He offered an olive branch and I grabbed it only to later discover that cohort, which typically means supporter or companion, can also have a derogatory meaning as in: Young Hudson arrived with three of his cohorts. Truly, Hudson deserves the Friday slot even though I still want it.

People tend to gather in flocks at these affairs so it was no wonder that Hudson and I would spend time quizzing our editors. Aside from talking M and N dashes, single vs. double quotes and the proper spacing around ellipses, I wanted to know which of our columns required less editing. The editors all waved their hands seemingly in unison and said they didn’t have to worry about either of us although one piped up with the unsolicited information about how much she loved Random Thoughts. This forced me to confess that I purposely don’t read Random Thoughts because I’d probably steal from it. Hudson then insisted to be published on Mondays instead of Fridays. Is he trying to make my job easier or turn me into a thief?

I met the entire staff from reception to advertising to accounting, the brown liners, the crews who drive the paper day and night, the freelance writers, and one talented illustrator who unabashedly pointed out his missing finger. But the highlight of the whole shebang was when publisher Fred Stabbert presented a stack of newly bestowed statewide awards, the only one of which I remember was for best obituaries. On that note alone, I must admit I’m over-the-moon and more than honored to be the Tuesday columnist of this family-run, award-winning paper.


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