It’s not often I receive a personal invitation to have lunch with the publisher and president of The Sacramento Bee, but unless I’m reading things wrong, that’s exactly what arrived in my in box earlier this week.
It came from “The Office of Cheryl Dell,” who was kind enough to include a full-color photo of herself just in case the big day comes and I forget what she looks like and accidentally introduce myself to the Metro editor instead.
I hope Cheryl isn’t planning to offer me a job over lunch, given that the lifetime contract I signed with Davis’ Only Local Daily Newspaper at the age of 23 still has many decades to run and “Loyalty” is my middle name.
“Dear Bob,” Cheryl begins, as much of my mail does. She goes on to thank me for including The Bee among the 32 daily newspapers I subscribe to, then cuts straight to the chase when she writes “Please join us on Friday, April 25, for a special VIP presentation at The Bee.”
First, a point of clarification. Are you the VIP or am I the VIP? Always good to know when heading into a power lunch on someone else’s turf.
“For over 157 years, The Sacramento Bee has been the leading source of news and information for Northern California,” Cheryl notes presumptuously, somehow missing the glorious 117-year existence of The Davis Enterprise.
Be that as it may, I will allow that The Bee, despite being named after an insect, is an excellent newspaper that serves its readers well. I especially appreciate the recent addition of that Ohman dude, the political cartoonist, though I don’t know how they stole him from The Oregonian.
“We are committed to our mission to keep you informed and connected to your community.”
Trust me, Cheryl, I am indeed connected to my community.
She is also committed to watching “the powerful in our community, holding people and institutions accountable for their actions and inactions.”
Sounds like we have many of the same goals in life.
But we’ve strayed from that VIP invitation without ever answering the question of which one of us is the VIP and who’s buying lunch.
“The day begins at 10 a.m. and will conclude at 12:00 p.m. with a special celebration in our courtyard.”
How lovely. What time do we eat?
“In between, you will be treated to a tour of the newspaper, which includes the newsroom, the press room and a history lesson in our lobby.”
Wow. A real newsroom? Pinch me if I’m dreaming. Maybe when we’re done seeing your newsroom, we can hop in the car and jet across the Causeway to see my newsroom. And that Debra woman in Winters is lining up to show you her newsroom, too, even as we speak.
“At 12:00 p.m., we invite you to join us in the courtyard where we will be celebrating the start of baseball season with music, food and chances to win prizes.”
Geez Louise, the sports section in my newspaper tells me the baseball season started last month. Do you know something we don’t know?
“Joe’s American Classics will be serving hot dogs, chips and drinks (tickets for lunch are $5).”
Now wait a minute, Cheryl. You can’t invite me to lunch and then charge me five dollars. Miss Manners would not approve.
“We will be tossing out peanuts and popcorn to the crowd.”
Glory hallelujah, does the madness ever stop? I’ll be like a seal in the circus, barking for another bag of peanuts to be tossed my way.
I realize you might not believe this, but we toss peanuts and popcorn in our newsroom, too. Must be some sort of newspaper deal.
“If you are not yet a member of The Bee’s FREE Loyalty Club, BeeBuzzPoints, you will need to join in order to attend this event.”
If you are not yet a member of The Enterprise’s FREE Loyalty Club — YouOnlyLiveOnce — it doesn’t matter. We’ll take you to The Hotdogger for a loaded dog and chips, on us.
That’s just the kind of folks we are here on the west side of the river.
— Reach Bob Dunning at firstname.lastname@example.org