B ack in the day -- about 45 years ago -- I was the youngest person in the newsroom. And I seem to recall that I treated my well-seasoned co-workers with reverence, respect and kindness.
And they treated me just fine, too, though I do recall one of the elders in the newsroom once telling me to "shut up" because she thought I talked too much. I didn't think so, but maybe she was right.
If my memory serves me correctly, and it might not, I was making some sort of political statement at the time, one with which she obviously didn't agree, and instead of just debating the issue with me, she took the easy way out: "Shut up!"
End of discussion.
But these days, I'm one of the geezers in the newsroom. Old, older, oldest. Slowly, but surely, climbing up the ladder. Or is it down the ladder? Whatever, there are a couple of us who serve as the institutional memory around here -- and I am one.
Which works fine as long as I remember my place.
Last Thursday morning, I forgot my place.
In Thursday's York Dispatch, there is a story headlined: "York's newest musical export: Cold Fronts" on page D1. Nice story, written by the youngest member of our staff, Mollie Durkin.
Anyway, whenever someone new is hired, I will occasionally take the time to stick my nose into their business, making my vast knowledge of all that is York County available to them.
They probably don't appreciate it, but I do it anyway, because when I was a young pup the elders did the same for me. And I appreciated it. Maybe not at that exact moment, but somewhere along the line I became grateful for knowing what I might not otherwise have known.
Which takes me back to Mollie. When I read the first paragraph of her "Cold Fronts" story, I was left with an urge to expand her musical horizons. It's an old-fart thing to do. So I did it.
Anyway, this is the first graph in her story: "As a music hub that produced bands such as Live, Kingsfoil and Halestorm, York is no stranger to the spotlight."
It's accurate. It's current.
But I sensed Mollie didn't have the whole picture. At her age, why would she? Come to think of it, why did she need to?
I couldn't help myself. I walked over to her desk, kneeled down and asked her to do an Internet search for "The Magnificent Men."
And she did: "The Magnificent Man," she said out loud.
"No," I said, "The Magnificent Men."
Up it popped on her computer.
In the meantime, other ears in the newsroom were tuning in to the discussion. One person was off to one side laughing, feeling sorry for Mollie, I'm thinking. Another was at the other end of the newsroom, rehashing in her mind a story about her brother and her father and a discussion they once had about "paying your dues," and all that. She was laughing, too.
It reminded me of that morning a few months ago, when I took it upon myself to defend the Strand-Capitol's choice of Neil Sedaka as entertainment at the Performing Arts Center. Why? Well, because Sedaka was of my generation. I knew his music. And I liked it.
But most of the people in my office didn't have the slightest idea who Neil Sedaka was. We might as will have been talking about Perry Como or Ferlin Husky.
Anyway, Mollie started reading: "A white R&B vocal septet from York, Pa. ..."
The Mag Men's claims to fame were "Stormy Weather," and "I Could Be So Happy" back in the mid- '60s, before the days of 8-tracks, before cassette tapes and way before CDs.
The Magnificent Men, and the Del-Chords, another successful group from York, made records. And so did the Quintones back in the '50s -- they had a million-seller, in fact. And let's not forget internationally known gospel singer Diane King Susek.
Like I said, my generation.
I don't know why, but I wanted Mollie to know that the music scene in York didn't begin in 1994 with Live. Or in 2002 with Kingsfoil. Or in 2009 with Halestorm.
I was just about to launch into a ramble about one of the most celebrated musicians in York County music history -- Delano Floyd McCoury, better known as Del McCoury, leader of the Del McCoury Band -- when I realized I was becoming the center of attention.
Since I didn't want to embarrass Mollie or put her on the spot, I shut up. Finally.
But in case you didn't know, Del McCoury is recognized as one of the top bluegrass musicians of all time. He was born and raised in Seven Valleys. In 2010, he received a lifetime achievement award from the National Endowment for the Arts and, a year later, was elected into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame.
Here endeth the lesson for the day.
Columns by Larry A. Hicks, Dispatch columnist, run Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.