All of us here at the News Journal are truly saddened this week by the passing of Bena Mae Seivers.
During all of my two decades working for this newspaper, Bena Mae has been an extremely popular fixture in our pages.
Her column, “Bena Mae’s Kitchen,” was about so much more than just recipes and cooking tips. It was the way so many of us got to know her. Even people that had never met Bena Mae felt like they’d been friends all their lives.
Her writing style had personality and oozed likability. She was truly talented.
Since becoming editor of this newspaper, and now publisher, I’ve received so many calls from people who were Bena Mae fans. Many of them were not aware that she lived and wrote her column from Clinton, Tenn. I can only remember a handful of times her ever actually setting foot in the News Journal offices, but it happened on occasion.
I forwarded untold numbers of emails and letters to Bena Mae from readers who wanted to correspond with her. Quite frankly, I was always a little jealous of the following of dedicated readers she was able to garner.
Bena Mae was truly the News Journal’s version of a rock star.
Unfortunately, we will never have any more new “Bena Mae’s Kitchen.” But I want our readers to know, she will not fade into history unremembered.
There is 25 years worth of her work for us to draw upon. The News Journal intends to run, for the foreseeable future, her best columns from the past quarter century. Some of the early stuff is fascinating. Her first columns, believe it or not, did not even have her name on them!
I think you will find it to be an interesting look into the past. Her common references to current events will serve as sort of a time capsule that I think will make for very compelling reading all over again. It will be a neat trip down Memory Lane.
No doubt, men and women alike read and enjoyed Bena Mae’s columns, but I know that they especially resonated with our female readers. I want you to know, you are very important to us.
I am looking for an appropriate columnist that is a strong writer, clever, and a great storyteller … someone that can carry on the tradition that Bena Mae started. Suggestions from our readers are more than welcome.
If you know of a writer — it doesn’t matter if it’s someone local, or nationally syndicated — that you think could follow in Bena Mae’s footsteps, please let me know. Don’t be hesitant or shy about it.
For so many years, the News Journal has been No. 1 in readership and circulation for one main reason — we have great content. No matter what attractive package you present, if the content is not there, readers will know. Bena Mae has been part of that successful equation. The right person exists out there somewhere to carry the torch following Bena Mae’s passing. It’s just a matter of finding them.
SOME OTHER STUFF
• Despite an absolute downpour just minutes before it was set to begin, Moonbow Nights in downtown Corbin this past weekend was a smashing success. It was very well attended. The headlining musical act, country/rock band County Wide, put on a great show. You can see County Wide at this year’s NIBROC Festival on Aug. 12 when they take to the main stage.
• My interview with Euro Sticks President Frédéric Debacker was very eye-opening and educational. You can see the story generated from this on our front page this week. It gave insight as to why the company chose Corbin, his reasons for wanting to locate a manufacturing facility in America, and sheds light on how something we take for granted every day is a huge global business. You will never look at a Popsicle sticks the same way again.