Thursday, March 19, 2009

With Doc's grandbaby on Santa Monica Pier

The St. Louis American, where I work, is a family business in every way. It is owned by a family and more or less operated as one. Not that we don't have our problems (as families do), and not that we aren't forced to make hard business decisions (as businesses do, especially nowadays). But anyone who works at the paper any stretch of time eventually comes to observe how much like a big, rowdy, loving family it is.

The publisher, Donald M. Suggs, is very much the patriarch of this family. Like a patriarch, he is both feared and loved by the rest of us. I have felt an especially close tie to his blood kin, in the five years I have been with the paper, because one of his daughters, Dina M. Suggs, essentially recruited me when we were both living in New York. And his other daughter, Dawn Suggs, lives in my favorite city, Los Angeles, so I get a chance to visit with her once a year or so.

On this trip out here, Dawn was a must-see, because there is a new baby in the family, Delali. This beautiful little baby girl is the first granddaughter for Doc, as Suggs is affectionately known (he is an oral surgeon by trade, a publisher by passion).

On Tuesday we met Dawn and Delali on Santa Monica Pier and visited for a little while in the gaudy sunshine that defines this special place. Our daughter Leyla - an only child with a profound jones to be a big sister - kept reaching for Delali, and though these particular pictures don't show it, the baby kept reaching for Leyla when she was in someone else's arms.

I was so happy, I text-messaged Suggs from the pier, which led Dawn to laugh about receiving a text message from her father upon the birth of her baby, carefully pecked out in complete sentences, with no abbreviations. "It must have taken him an hour!" she laughed.

My wife said, "Doc will love to see these pictures," after she had seen them herself. "It shows that we are a real family."


This is a working vacation, so I have been editing the paper from my hotel room and conducting interviews by phone from the beach. I also have been proofing the news pages by PDF, so I can upload this week's front page and jump pages!

Page 1A, March 19, 2009 edition

Page 6A, March 19, 2009 edition

Page 7A, March 19, 2009 edition

Page design by the award-winning Mike Terhaar.

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