This is an opinion piece.

David Clemons, a former Reporter managing editor, is publisher of our sister paper, The Walton Tribune, in Monroe, Georgia.

Last week, David told me my first year as publisher would be like “drinking from a fire hose” as I became comfortable in my new role. So far, I can’t argue with him.

I’m thankful for Reporter employees Tammy Powell, Sherrie Hall, Linda Allen, Daniel Taylor, Elizabeth Summers, John Morris and Jonathan Bottomlee. They’re dedicated, talented folks who have encouraged and supported me and helped us keep sailing since July 20.

I lost my dad 11 days after becoming the boss, as my oldest son, James, described it. Following dad’s funeral on Aug. 3, I dove into putting together our 2020 Football Preview magazine with help from John, Jonathan, Sherrie and Joe Cagle, who left us to return to work for The Advertiser-Gleam in Guntersville.

On Aug. 17, James (first grade) and Brady (pre-K) started school at Carlisle Elementary. They’re traditional students and not virtual, because my beautiful bride, Malarie, and I believe they’ll receive their best education under the instruction of a classroom teacher.

Jill Blackmon is James’ teacher. Rachel Knott is Brady’s lead teacher, and she’s assisted by Kristi Dunn. So far, the boys are enjoying the school year. Malarie and I weren’t concerned about James, but we had reservations about Brady, because he can be mischievous.

On Aug. 30, James lost his first tooth. He had been telling us how loose it was, and Malarie pulled it for him before bedtime. James was excited, while Brady was jealous and kept asking when he’d have a loose tooth.

More than once, I had to stop Brady from snatching the tooth from under James’ pillow. The tooth fairy left James a couple of dollars, and he shared one with Brady.

The tooth fairy didn’t break her bank on James, and Malarie said she must’ve remembered that someday, all three of our children could be putting teeth under their pillows at the same time.

My first football injury

I started covering football games for The Reporter in the 1988 season.

That year, the legendary Robert O. Johnson taught me self-preservation is the supreme rule for all photographers and reporters on the sideline. I took Mr. Johnson’s advice to heart, and I’ve practiced it ever since.

On Aug. 22, I suffered the first injury of my career on the sidelines when a New Hope ball carrier accidentally cleated me in the left shin.

I saw the play coming and moved back toward the fence, but a Crossville tackler caught the Indian runner near the sideline and slung him around, causing one of his feet to make impact with my shin. I described it as getting leg whipped. I’m glad I was wearing jeans and not shorts.

After treating my injury at home for a few days to no avail, Malarie suggested I let the professionals evaluate it.

Former Guntersville Wildcat football star Corey Cahill is a nurse practitioner for United Doctors Family Medical Center in Boaz, and he diagnosed me with a classic case of cellulitis. Thanks to prayer, antibiotics and a topical ointment, my injury is healing.

I added my injury to the list of other things that have gone wrong in 2020. 


Shannon J. Allen is the publisher or The Reporter. He can be reached at

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