Here's Something About Two
Barney Bernard and Ted Kennedy passed away in the past few days. It's sad to hear of the passing of friends. Yes, both of them were friends of mine, both because of my involvement in the newspaper business.
Everybody knew Ted Kennedy and his brothers, President John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy, a presidential candidate, both of whom were assassinated. Most would say "who's Barney Bernard?"
I am proud to say that, in a few ways, I was a friend of all three Kennedy brothers, although just temporarily, through my coverage of their various activities, including Ted's plane crash injury, during my news-papering in New England. I am sorry for the families of the remaining Kennedys.
Nobody reading this blog but for perhaps a few locals knew Barney. He was the general manager of the local newspaper when I moved to Hobbs from Truth or Consequences and we became friends at once, first for his genuine help to me as a new employee of his newspaper and next for his levity.
Explain levity. Fun, jokes, pranks, things Barney was full of, constantly.
Every time I would enter his office on some errand or with a question, he'd look up and exclaim "Got a joke for you!" Often I'd leave his office laughing loudly and forgetting why I had gone there.
Pranks popped up on occasion. My birthday was June 14 and his June 18.
One year I sent him a Happy Birthday card with a girlie picture, signing it, "Love, Edna."
Amazingly, he later tracked down the card sender to my newsroom desk.
The following year on June 14, a florist delivered to my desk a bouquet of roses and tumbleweeds.
There was a card attached reading "I ditched Barney. Can we get to know each other? Love, Edna."
Another staffer arrived at work one morning to find his desk, chair and his old Remington typewriter sitting on the sidewalk outside the building, and adorned with a sign saying "we had to make room for the new reporter we just hired."
During World War II Barney was a B-17 bomber pilot. I didn't know him then, of course, but after hearing a brief statement about him at his funeral service this week, I sort of wish I had because we'd have been jokesters together for an ensuing sixty years or so.
His pastor related that Barney was a pilot who flew from an airfield high on a hill about 40 miles west of London, England. That brought a thought to my mind. I was stationed in an army camp just below an airfield on a hill 40 miles west of London.
Barney retired in 1987 and joined an informal group of guys calling themselves The Old Farts Club, meeting about 9 in the morning on a bench inside the old Hobbs Post Office.
On occasion I'd walk in there to mail a package and the first thing I'd hear was "Hey, Charlie, come here, I've got a joke for you." Barney was 93 when he died rather suddenly last Saturday.
The Veterans' Honor Guard professionally folded the United States Flag which had covered his casket and presented it to his widow after a bugler played the mournful "Taps," honoring the airman who flew 16 bombing missions over Germany so many years ago.
Bless you, Barney.
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