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Missing The Old Scout

February 24, 2011 | 8 Comments

To: GK

Do you have any plans to resume writing The Old Scout? I miss it terribly!

-Cindy McDaniel
Arlington, IN

I took a vacation from the weekly newspaper column last summer because it was chewing up my Mondays and part of my Tuesdays. Like everyone who ever ventured into newspaper columnizing, I figured on the job being easy, like mowing a lawn, and instead it turned out to be like hanging wallpaper. In other words, maddening. I had a 750-word limit and wanted to carve a light-hearted essay in that space that could range from the political to personal history to the doings of my sandy-haired daughter, but never quite got the hang of it, I'm afraid, and meanwhile was spending a lot of hours deleting and rewriting. I'd like to resume the column someday, and see if I can find the tone I was looking for. It's all about tone, or voice. Once you find it, you can write in the dark.


I really miss the Old Scout Column.
I met you in Greenville NC, at East Carolina University over a year ago and it was one of the most memorable moments of my life. An introduction to you was a birthday gift from my sister.
I have gone to have a weekly newspaper column of my own in our local newspaer in the hometown which I live, Statesville, NC.
I hope you can find it in your schedule to resume the Old Scout column. Take care.

You know of my remorse over losing The Old Scout. I've expressed it before. Your articles dovetailed so sweetly with both the Writer's Almanac and portions of the live show that I was able to feel quite 'linked' with your weekly thought processes. But, life has to be pared to a happy balance. Last summer's Summer Love tour and the plethora of inspired regular PHC shows keep on giving. I'm still hoping to join you for either the street dance or one of your many special events. Ice that would have fit the bill!
Thanks for all the joy.

Dear GK,

Try, perhaps, a column once a month. your voice is important, and it would be better to have it infrequently than not at all.

And your daughter will want the effort, both now and later.

Take care of yourself.

A few days after dropping my kids off for summer camp last year, I sat in a diner reading an Old Scout column about your own experiences with camp. You so captured all of my motherly hopes and fears so well that I wept openly into my chicken noodle was the strangest feeling of being totally exposed and lovingly comforted at the same time. You make me feel so human.


I get it, but like the other readers, I miss the Old Scout too. If once a week is too much, once in a while would work for me! You set the frequency and we'll read along. I started reading it right during your columns about the then-Current Occupant.

Anyway, if anyone can find their voice, it's you!

Want to say Thank You.

I second the other commenters' wishes. If not weekly, just come back periodically. I was introduced to your always thought provoking posts about life on the back essay pages of Time magazine many years ago. Couldn't you start with something like that? Shoot, all those magazines need a shot in the arm anyways and a viewpoint form a different angle. No one has your voice. We all miss those columns.

Often I will pull up a column - the Nebraska angel caring for the Latino boys in NYC is a good example - for inspiration. (Not sure whether you would be shocked or gratified to know how often your words have led to a sermon.) Although like listening to a previous show it's almost as good as a fresh experience, it's nice to imagine the Old Scout reappearing now & then, here or there. Hey, the Cleveland Indians swept the Red Sox so who's to say never?

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