I started my career in Nashville, writing features for an editor named Catherine Mayhew.
Because she was an editor who edited, and I was a whining, cocky, asswipe writer, I never bothered to read anything Catherine had written. I merely assumed, like most other editors at the paper, she was worth shit with a pen.
Twenty years later, I can admit I was terribly wrong.
Catherine’s food-life blog, “The South in My Mouth,” is fucking awesome. It’s not flashy, it doesn’t look amazing, there’s no dazzle. Nope, it’s just … Catherine. Talking about cooking. Life. You read it and you can see her there, sitting in her garage (yes, she writes in her garage), smoking a cigarette, drinking a glass of wine, spewing off thoughts. I found it particularly spectacular today, when she wrote of the funeral of our former Tennessean co-worked, Gail Kerr, who died a few days ago of cancer. Most funeral postings are predictably sterile and flat. It’s a funeral, the thinking goes, so I have to walk on shells.
Well, my ol’ editor has never been a shell walker. Actually, stop reading what I’m writing, and just check out her entry. It includes the following—a graph so powerful and smart that I’ve now read it five times:
Once you start aging a bit (I turn 42 within a month), you really start thinking about the people who have best guided you along your path. I’m thankful to many folks, ranging from my parents to my uncle to my wife to my college friends. On and on and on. However, there’s a special place for Catherine Mayhew, who took a shot on a 22-year-old shit and treated him, in many ways, like the awkward, lost , obnoxious Yankee son she never had.
Sweet dreams …