Tales from the Trail

pete rose

Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019 marks the 30th anniversary of Pete Rose's banishment from baseball.

It's a sad, pathetic and often annoying saga that seems like it has been going on for 300 years and, unfortunately, will never end.

bob weston
Courtesy of Howard Wilkinson

I want you to know about my friend Bob Weston.  

There are probably many of you "veteran'' watchers of local politics – which means "old" like me – who already know Bob, who passed away June 8 at his retirement home in Frisco, Texas, at the age of 89.  

donald buz lukens
Dennis Paquin / AP

In five decades of covering politics, I have never seen a politician fall as hard and as far as Donald "Buz" Lukens.

school desk

The older I get the more I realize that there is no more noble a profession as that of teacher.

Especially those who teach young children.

chatterbox staff
Courtesy of Samantha Gerwe-Perkins

When you are 66 years old, there is no denying it.

It says so, right there on my state of Ohio driver's license: 12-06-52.

That is aged, but not ancient.

ohio university
Joe Maiorana / AP

How did I end up here?  

That was about all I could think one evening about a year ago, as I sat at a banquet table in the Baker Center at my old school, Ohio University, enjoying a plate full of perfectly done prime rib and the best crab cakes this side of Baltimore.

Bob Castellini
David Kohl / AP

When you have been a reporter as long as I have, you have been assigned to countless boring stories in hundreds of dreary places, where, try as you might, it is a herculean task to come up with a tale that anyone but the chronically bored would read.

obama inauguration
Scott Andrews / AP

So many events, so many sights, so many experiences, have stayed with me over my 45 years as a reporter.

But none so much as what I saw as the mid-day sun hung over the U.S. Capitol on an extremely cold January morning in Washington, D.C.

ann arbor michigan
Wikimedia Commons

If I never set foot in Ann Arbor, Michigan, again, it will be too soon.

john and annie glenn
Jim Cole / AP

There are so many people who have known the late John H. Glenn, Jr. – fighter pilot, Mercury astronaut, United States Senator from Ohio – who believe he would have made a very good president of the United States.

newspaper boy
Wikimedia Commons

I had journalism on my mind at a very early age.

In fact, with my neighborhood buddy Mike Wehmeyer, I was the editor and publisher of a newspaper at the age of 13. Well, sort of a newspaper.

david crowley
Courtesy of Kevin Crowley

Giving advice to people who are aspiring to be elected to public office is not something I do. As a politics reporter, that is not my job. I write about them; I analyze their ideas; I sometimes get under their skin and do what I can to hold their feet to the fire.

Sister Marguerite McHugh
Courtesy of Kelly Knox

One thing I have learned in 45 years of reporting and writing is very basic, very simple and very much a part of the journalism I do.

coal minder
Howard Wilkinson / Personal collection

I was only 22 years old in January of 1975, a reporter for The Post, the student newspaper at Ohio University in Athens.

john glenn howard metzenbaum
Jay LaPrete / AP

There has never been a relationship in the history of Ohio politics like the often-prickly, always competitive one of John H. Glenn Jr. and Howard Metzenbaum.

Two men linked forever in the history of Ohio politics.

dalai lama
Matt Sumner / AP


Not a word I have often used in describing my experiences over nearly 45 years as a reporter.

howard wilkinson obamas
The White House

There are some invitations to Christmas parties and holiday gatherings where you can thank the person inviting you and send your regrets for not being able to attend.

christmas pickle
Howard Wilkinson / WVXU

It usually starts around Thanksgiving.

My Facebook page and Twitter account light up with friends, near and far, demanding an answer to a single question.

johnny rotten
Alastair Grant / AP

One thing about John Kasich, the soon-to-be former governor of Ohio: The dude will talk to anybody with the time and patience to listen to him. Good trait for someone who yearns to be president, I suppose.

el conquistador resort puerto rico
Richard Garrett / Flickr Creative Commons

I believe in serendipity.

Yes, I do. I have, at least since July 1996, when serendipity came down and struck me right between the eyes and led me on the cushiest assignment I have ever had in 45 years of reporting.