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Huckleberries Last: A sneak preview of final column

I met Herb Caen, the celebrated San Francisco Chronicle columnist, at the 1993 National Society of Newspaper Columnists convention in Portland, Ore. I grew up reading Caen's three-dot columns and patterned my own after his. (Mrs. O photo)
I met Herb Caen, the celebrated San Francisco Chronicle columnist, at the 1993 National Society of Newspaper Columnists convention in Portland, Ore. I grew up reading Caen's three-dot columns and patterned my own after his. (Mrs. O photo)

Here's the rough draft of my final column, which will run Friday AM:

In 50 years, I’ve come full circle. I graduated from high school at age 17 in ’67. Now, I’m 67 in ’17. And I’m retiring. This will be my last column. Forty-seven years in the news biz ends today. So let’s bring out the final set of dots.


Three dots
I became an admirer of three-dot master Herb Caen of the San Francisco Chronicle while growing up on a 500-acre dairy in rural northern California. My Aunt Beatrice subscribed to a newspaper that carried his column … (By the way, I believe that my teen years on my Uncle Manuel’s dairy shoveling cow manure prepared me for a career of editorial and column writing) … I was amazed that Caen could cram so many different items into a single column. I didn’t know the people he wrote about. But he made me care for him … His mantra? If you don’t understand one item, go to the next … Caen’s tight writing and word play were dazzling. He copied the style of three-dot originator Walter Winchell. And I copied Caen. I copied so well that I won a memorial award given in his name for tidbits column writing in 1999 from the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. I never cared about newspaper awards after that. I’d grabbed the brass ring … More here.




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D.F. Oliveria
D.F. (Dave) Oliveria joined The Spokesman-Review in 1984. He currently is a columnist and compiles the Huckleberries Online blog and writes about North Idaho in his Huckleberries column.

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