I’m not in the habit of lying to Don Bolden, even when I was a young sports writer and occasionally came in late for work after a wild night out in Chapel Hill, Raleigh or Greensboro. Burlington in those days didn’t have much in the way of nightlife.
But even then I had to fess up and tell the truth.
So when Burlington Mayor Ronnie Wall asked if there was some way I could get Don to the City Council meeting on May 19 so he could be honored with a day of his very own, I hesitated a minute. They did, after all, want it to be a surprise.
Fib to Don Bolden? Hmmmm.
After a moment or two, I decided a little white tall tale couldn’t hurt. I told Don, our editor emeritus, the Times-News would be recognized for celebrating its 125th anniversary, which closed at the end of December. They just now cleared time enough on the calendar to do it, I told him. Could he be there on the 19th? After all, Don made a major contribution to our celebration series and special section.
He quickly agreed.
And thus the story was set.
Tuesday night Don was quite surprised when the mayor and council brought out a proclamation announcing that March 19 is Don Bolden Day in Burlington. It noted Don’s accomplishments as a reporter, editor, photographer, community leader and historian.
“You got me,” he said, and shook my hand. Well worth it.
Here’s what the proclamation said:
WHEREAS,Don Bolden dedicated his 51 year career to the documentation of Alamance County history through the stories published in the Burlington Times-News; and
“WHEREAS,during his 18 year tenure as the Editor-in-Chief of the Times-News, Don Bolden crafted the narrative through which this community consumed the news; and
“WHEREAS, Don Bolden’s tenure with the Times-News allowed him experiences ranging from interviewing American presidents, covering civil rights riots, photographing ACC basketball games, and bringing the stories of local residents to print; and
“WHEREAS, due to his tremendous wealth of knowledge, coupled with his most generous nature, Don Bolden has become an invaluable historian in the community.
“WHEREAS, Don Bolden’s mark will always remain in the pages of Burlington’s history not only for what he has written, but also as a result of his character;
“NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ronnie K. Wall, Mayor of the City of Burlington, in recognition of his tremendous contributions, do hereby proclaim March 19, 2013, as
“‘Don Bolden Day’
“IN THE CITY OF BURLINGTON
“This the 19th day of March, 2013.”
I don’t think I could disagree with one word. Thanks to the city for taking the time to recognize such a longtime significant figure in our community — and a newspaper guy, the one who hired me here originally in fact.
And hopefully, Don will overlook that little white lie I told him.