memory mantle

lighting-the-candleD14_420_032I’ve been an AU staffer for 23 years—a long tenure to be sure, but not nearly as long as the late Don Myers, who served as AU’s CFO, vice president and treasurer for 45 years. I was fortunate to work with him on several annual reports throughout the years. He always knew exactly what he wanted and was very complimentary of my work. I was honored when I was tapped to design the program for Don’s memorial service (he passed away in January after a long and courageous battle with cancer).

I listened intently during the planning meetings, hoping that I would glean insights into his personality in order to make his program more personal. I learned he loved orchids.

When it came time to design the magazine story on Don’s legacy, I wanted it to be more than columns of text and a few photos. There needed to be an orchid in the layout. A mantle with objects that represented Don’s professional accomplishments and personal life popped into my mind.

Identifying items to go with a story is easy—finding them can be tricky. With a little help from our coworkers and some shopping, we found most of the items. But one important item—a mini-golden shovel—proved to be more difficult. Don broke a lot of ground on campus and he just had to have a mini-golden shovel on his mantle. I was on a mission.

After searching several stores, I sent a typo-ridden text to Adrienne:1

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It was totally worth the effort. Don was an impressive man who did a lot for the AU community and I wanted his mantle to be just right.

When everything was perfectly arranged I lit the candle and wondered aloud what would be on my “memory mantle.” I drew a blank, then Adrienne chimed in: “Oh, you’d have Good & Plenty on your mantle.” (The candies are my vice.) Um, not very prestigious but at least they are easy to find.