As a small child, before I learned to count, my Granny taught me a rhyme that originated long ago in England, her father's birthplace. Most often, we counted the buttons on my dress or coat and the rhyme began, "rich man, poor man, beggar man, thief."
The old rhyme has many versions, some more Americanized than others. Dating back to the 15th century, it's used as a counting game or for fortune telling. Granny always said it would predict the man I married but his occupation never quite fit any of options on either side of the Atlantic.
Some say it predicts your occupation but I don't see journalist or writer among any of the choices.
As most readers are well aware, at the Neosho Daily News, I am a one woman news department. I'm the reporter and photographer, one of the columnists and the editor. If it's on the page, it's because I placed it there. There's no "they" or "we" when it comes to the news department - it's me.
I do have both a regional editor and a state editor but on the local scene, it's me.
I've fielded a few phone calls when someone asks for the editor and when I respond it's me, they say they want to talk to "the man" or "a man" called them about news. I've had calls where someone said that the press boss called them, which would be amazing since we haven't printed at the Neosho Daily since late 2018.
When someone objects and since we all have different tastes, believe me, they do to a story or column or photograph, I'm usually asked why did "they" run that. And I own up to it - it's me.
You may have noticed some content from some of our other papers now that we're part of the Gannett USA Today network. Those are put there on the page by me when I find items that relate to Neosho and to Missouri. I'm one person and thanks to our network of papers, I can reach out for content beyond what I can provide alone.
I'm fortunate to have a large group of columnists. For the record, they receive nothing but a byline and publication for their efforts. I also have a finite number of pages to fill. There are times when I, as editor, must make choices what to put in that space. Columnists are - or should be - aware that space on the Viewpoint page isn't guaranteed. I will choose what's the most relatable to the readers and the community. Columns appear as space allows. Hounding me or haranguing me when there's no room isn't going to free the space or prompt me to run something I didn't.
As editor, I welcome contributions of all types but submission doesn't necessarily mean publication.
That's why when I'm counting down my buttons, editor is at the top of the list.
-Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy is the community editor for The Neosho Daily News and The Aurora Advertiser. She is also a published author and freelance writer.