GASTON CO., NC (WBTV) - Every once in a blue moon, I can't find a Good News story. Now, one might imagine finding these types of stories is like shooting fish in a barrel; most days it is.
But Thursday was a rare exception to the rule. Every story I tried to turn just didn't turn out.
I decided "feel good" stories don't happen in the newsroom (well, most times they don't) so I should get out and shake the bushes.
I drove down to the Gaston County access to Mountain Island Lake just off Highway 16. I thought I might find some fishermen there with some tall stories to tell. But all I found was one lonely looking guy pacing around on the dock.
I got out and started chatting. Before long, the lonely looking man had me in stitches talking about his old job with the state "road department". He made me laugh even harder when I asked his name and he refused to tell me, "You'll laugh", he said. "No I won't," I replied. He pulled out his drivers licence and there in the tiny font letters commonly seen on an NC driver's licence, "Lorene John Stinson".
Just as Mr. Stinson had predicted, I did laugh. But only because he started telling stories of how he used to tell his work buddies that if they kept laughing at him, he'd come to work in a dress and wig.
I asked him if I could interview him. He said no. I got my camera out. He again said no. I said yes.
Right there on the curb next to the fishing hole we sat for a good half-hour. Chatting about one of everything. I found Mr. Lorene Stinson not only had a knack for making people laugh, but making me cry, too.
Mr. Stinson wasn't at the lake hoping to run into some TV reporter, he was there to talk to his Dad.
"I come here to talk to him but he never answers, but I know he's in heaven," Mr. Stinson said through tears the size of his thumb.
The two used to come to the same spot for years and sit from dawn till dusk. With a lazy line in the water, sometimes they caught buckets-full, sometimes they never got a bite.
There must have been 50 things about Mr. Stinson that made me smile, but perhaps the biggest smile came from knowing I didn't have a story, till I decided to talk to the stranger on the dock.