Her chair is like a bar stool at Cheers

There’s a chair in the News-Times building that I love.

It’s maybe one of my favorite places to sit.

It’s not a fabulous chair . . . it has a pretty simple design and it’s not necessarily comfortable by any means.

What makes it special is its location.

And the lady who sits behind the desk next to it.

Because making your way in the world today takes everything you’ve got.

Taking a break from all your worries sure would help a lot.

So sometimes wouldn’t you like to get away?

When you sit in the chair, she always knows your name.

And you are always glad you came.

You know how you want to go where someone knows your troubles are all the same?

So I go to the chair, where she always knows my name . . . and probably why I came.

The chair by Kathy Larson’s desk, to me, is like a bar stool at Cheers.

I can’t count the number of times I’ve stood up in my own office space and deliberately walked from the back of the building to the front . . . with only one mission.

To sit in the chair by Kathy’s desk.

When I arrive, she always immediately looks up from her computer or waves at me while she finishes a phone call.

And it’s always followed by a simple question.

“Now what?” she says, chuckling.

That’s when she slightly wrinkles her nose as she smiles. She doesn’t know she does it . . . but I’ve noticed, because I’ve seen it a thousand times.

Once I’m in the chair, I can say anything about anything.

I can complain.

I can laugh.

I can tell a crazy story.

I can ask a question.

Or maybe I can just sit there, say nothing and we simply smile.

It doesn’t matter how many reams of paper are scattered about her desk or the perils that have befallen her earlier.

It doesn’t even matter if she doesn’t want to hear what I have to say.

She always leans forward, on her arms, and listens with earnest.

Kathy’s been in this building a long time – 23 years, I’m told.

That’s a healthy handful-plus years longer than me.

So when I first entered this structure at Fourth and Platte, Kathy was already a seasoned veteran in the newspaper advertising and marketing arena.

She’s a savvy woman.

She knows her craft.

She has great relationships with her clients.

And she sure knows how to get things done around here.

Early on, I learned that she is an engaging and interesting person.

I remember the first meeting we attended together. I could barely digest what was being said because I was simply in awe as I watched her artistic hand create this amazing doodle on a piece of scratch paper. Over the course of a half-hour, a plain piece of paper turned into this intriguing work of art – and it was all second nature to her. She was fully tuned in to what was being discussed . . . she commented and asked questions . . . while her hand continued to draw, almost independently from the rest of her body.

Turns out, doodles are far from being her only artwork.

She is an amazing jewelry designer and creator. I’m proud to say I have several of her bracelets in my possession. And every day, I’m able to look at the walking art gallery that is her . . . because she wears her own pieces in the most stylish way.

Kathy is a photographer, an interior designer, a knowledgeable connoisseur of what sells well on the internet, a cake baker/decorator, a blogger, a speed walker . . . and a marketing guru.

She is our longtime advertising manager.

And she is my friend.

We’ve been down some roads together – good and bad.

We’ve been crabby and we’ve been thrilled.

We’ve been smart and we’ve been stupid.

We’ve been professional and there have been plenty of times we’ve acted goofy in the break room.

We talk about the need for a new round of hair color . . . and over time, have shared the nuances of aging.

We talk about our families, our ailments and disdain for our own certain body parts that don’t quite look the way we wish.

We have parked next to each other, every morning, for the past 18 years . . . many times we arrive about the same time, so we take turns punching in the door code. Then she makes her way to the front of the house, I make my way to the back . . . and we wave at each other periodically throughout the day as she goes out to round up ads and I pursue the news.

And meanwhile, the chair is always available if I choose to “go get me some Kathy talk.”

Well, today, I’m proud and I’m sad.

I’m proud of Kathy because she is going to go out on a new adventure, to start the next installment of her life. It takes courage to change . . . I’ve always known Kathy is certainly brave. And I know she will conquer her next endeavor just as she has here at the York News-Times.

I’m sad, because I’m selfish. Today is Kathy’s last day at the YNT. I can’t imagine her not being here every day, because she always has been. I’ll miss her bling, her drive, her example of work ethic, her sense of humor and periodic vocal exasperation.

And I’ll miss sitting in the chair.

Kathy, thanks for knowing that making your way in the world today takes everything you’ve got . . . and taking a break from all those worries sure did help a lot. Sure, there were times we wanted to get away. But when I sat in your chair, you always knew my name . . . and I was always glad I came. I just wanted to go where someone knew our troubles are all the same.

Your chair was like a bar stool at Cheers. Thanks for sharing it . . . and yourself.




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