I thank Jim Lindsey frequently in the confines of my mind for being my friend, one of the best I’ve ever had in practical, real-life terms.
Jim helped me get sober, financially stable and more professional as a journalist. He taught me to thicken my skin when attacked and to be more gentle and gentile when returning fire (that one doesn’t always work to this day). He showed me that being a little crazy and a lot eccentric bring out the humanity in all of us. Jim demonstrated a rare level of kindness that touches me still on a visceral level.
Jim bought the Blue Ridge Business Journal from my old friend Thurmond Horne, who founded it, after I’d been editor for a few years. I was still drinking. Jim tolerated my addiction (he was less tolerant of my smoking) until I was ready to quit and then he was all-in. He said, in effect, “Do what you need to do. I’m here for you.” And he was, allowing me the freedom to go to AA meetings, sometimes three times in a day, two of those during work hours. He understood that I was falling apart, but that I needed to in order to get well. At least partly because of Jim, I put the cigarettes down. That was before I stopped drinking and may have been the nail in that particular coffin. Smoking is more addictive.
When the Journal was sold to the local daily, Jim shared the profit of the sale with me, something he absolutely did not have to do. I didn’t expect it, hadn’t even imagined it as a possibility. The money got me out of debt and I haven’t been back, which actually makes everything else a hell of a lot easier.
While we worked together, Jim taught me–a 25-30-year veteran of journalism–to be a journalist, both as a writer and as an editor. He taught me to ask the extra question, to seek the extra contact, to do one more thing, always one more thing. I had a poster of Clint Eastwood holding a gun on visitors tacked to my office door, saying, “Go ahead, make one more change!” That was for Jim and his obsession with perfection. I used to say, “Perfect is the enemy of the good.” Jim never agreed with that and I think it benefited both us and the Journal.
Jim enjoys–always has–people living on the bottom end of the spectrum, and he taught me a deep appreciation of the reality that exists in those valuable lives. He always saw their benefit to him, not the fact that they didn’t live the way middle class people live. All they really have is themselves and often those “selves” are rich in ways many of us don’t understand. Jim sees that.
Jim Lindsey is and always has been a good guy, one I admire, trust and love. Thank you, sir, for all you’ve done to make my life one that appreciates the good things and the good people.