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A collection of Don Allison's weekly On My Mind newspaper columns that appeared in The Bryan Times, choice selections from the early years.

Reader Praise

To be honest, I broke into tears (the good kind) when I read it, one reader wrote in response to a column on a personal topic.

I admire your courage in being willing to tell it like it is, another reader shared after reading a column chastising politicians for catering to special interests.

Wow! was the simple comment of yet another reader

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A Slice of Life

During more than three decades as an editor with The Bryan Times, Don Allison has supplemented his work in news with columns touching on a variety of topics.

Those columns range from hard-hitting pieces on topics in the news, to heartfelt family pieces to humorous takes on life.

Beginning with his earliest days as a columnist, Don's writing has earned recognition from United Press International and the Associated Press

 This volume features the best of Don Allison's On My Mind columns from the early years. Following is his very first installment of  On My Mind.

The space is empty, so I’ll try to make it home

This column appeared on September 29. 2006. Although Don had written columns for years, and had earned Associated Press awards for his efforts, the columns had not appeared on a regular basis. With the retirement of Times Senior Editor Linda Freed, who had written a weekly column, Don stepped in as her replacement. This was his initial regular column, and his first under the new On My Mind title.

I feel like someone who has just acquired a bigger, fancier house. Right now I’m walking around the empty rooms, trying to imagine how I’m going to decorate and furnish it, how to make it home.

The house was big and beautiful under the watch of the former owner. I’m used to seeing it as the previous occupant kept it for many years ─ well decorated, comfortable, home. Now those rooms seem so big and bare, begging to be brought back to life.

During the retirement dinner for Times Senior Editor Linda Freed someone asked if I planned to write a column. When I replied yes, although I couldn’t promise it will be weekly, someone asked if I would be writing about Lyle. If I do, I responded, joining in the laughter, I’ll have to undertake some research.

As I’m sure nearly all Bryan Times readers are aware, Lyle is Linda’s husband. Linda’s life with Lyle was a frequent part of her column Editor’s Notebook that appeared each Friday in the Times. Through the years Linda wrote more than 2,000 columns, initially under the title Thoughts from Under the Dryer.

Because of those columns, the Freeds are probably the best known family in Williams County.

Linda’s retirement leaves a hole in our Friday Page of Opinion where Editor’s Notebook used to appear. It also leaves a yearning from her legions of fans. There’s no way I could duplicate Linda’s column. I would never even try. All I can do is wander around this empty Friday editorial page space, trying to figure out how to make it home.

I’ve written a few Second Thoughts columns through the years. Through them I’ve tried to be funny or entertaining, pay tribute to friends and family, and address some serious issues facing the community. Second Thoughts is a staff-generated column, open to Times writers. Editor’s Notebook is decidedly Linda’s column.

For several weeks I’ve kicked about possible names for a column of my own. After deliberating over scores of titles, some possibly good and some probably not so good, I’ve settled on one. I’ll call it On My Mind.

For this first column, what’s on my mind is most definitely the legacy Linda Freed left behind at the Times. Beyond her columns, Linda was a steadying, influential force for myself and many, many other employees during her 40 years at the newspaper. I’m thankful for the chance to know Linda for almost my entire life - long, long before I joined the Times staff - and for the chance to work with and learn from her at the Times for more than a quarter centuryy.

In future weeks, and hopefully months and years to come, I’ll share what I have to offer in this Friday space. Maybe not every week, but I’ll try to write frequently.

Perhaps for now I could do a bit of research about Lyle. Actually, that could be a bit interesting. My Dad and Lyle were high school classmates, and I bet there are a few stories there to be told ... Anyway, Lyle stories or not, check back later. I’ll try to make my column worth your while.

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