Five years ago this week — on March 19 — we managed to pull the wool over the eyes of Don Bolden, a retired newspaper reporter and editor, editor emeritus of the Times-News, historian, community leader and community treasure. He’s also the guy who originally hired me at the Times-News in 1984, but don’t hold that against him.
I was asked by then-Burlington Mayor Ronnie Wall to find a way to get Don to a meeting of the Burlington City Council. Any pretense would be OK. After all they were planning to proclaim March 19, 2013 as “Don Bolden Day” in Burlington — Don’s hometown and where he made his mark.
Nothing could be more deserved and no person more deserving. So I agreed to whatever charade I could manage. I think what I told Don was that the Times-News was being honored for decades of service to the community. Don quickly agreed to be there.
When Don showed up and the city’s plan unfolded he was perhaps the most surprised person in the room. He had a few hints. His spouse Billie Faye attended and she wasn’t in the best health (she passed away on April 1 of 2017, nearly a year ago). Some relatives filed in the council chamber, too. He was a little puzzled, but didn’t ask any questions. Afterward there was a nice reception in city hall. I will always be grateful to the city for providing this honor in such a lovely way.
So today I decided to post this editorial we published on the day after “Don Bolden Day” in the Times-NewsIt’s something that should be celebrated more often. By the way, Don just finished a new book on a pictorial history of the town of Elon. Can’t keep a good man down. Go buy one!