And the winner is ... The Hinsdalean, part 2

I wouldn't call Jim Slonoff a liar.

After all, he's my friend of more than 30 years and business partner here at The Hinsdalean.

But he does, at times, play fast and loose with the truth.

Someone called The Doings once with a question about a tree, which none of us could answer. I can't remember the specifics. But I know when Jim heard about it, he offered us a lengthy explanation about squirrels and nuts and the acidity of the soil. He sounded very convincing. And then I noticed a little twinkle in his eye.

"You just made that up!" I cried. And he laughed in confirmation.

Last year when we were getting ready to watch the virtual awards lunch for the Illinois Press Association's annual contest, I asked him if there was a chance we won the sweepstakes. He pointed out that we never win the sweepstakes, which was, in fact, true.

Until last year that is, when we won it in both the editorial and advertising contests. Because he lays out the pages for the Best of the Press publication that is handed out after the awards lunch, he had known about our victories for weeks. And kept us in the dark the whole time.

Fast forward to last month. In advance of the IPA annual awards luncheon, which is back on schedule in May (although still virtual), we receive the list of how many awards we've won - and the places. Compared to what we won last year, we are killing it.

I look at Jim.

"Did we win it again?" I ask, referring to the sweepstakes.

"I don't know," he responds.

I respond with a look of doubt.

"There's no Best of the Press this year," he tells me.

And I believed him. I mean, why would they print hundreds of copies of a 24-page newspaper if there is no actual lunch at which to hand them out?

And then this fiction starts to unravel.

First Becky, our graphic designer who assists with the section, mentions the Best of the Press deadline in an email.

"She must be confused with last year," Jim says.

Then, last week, as I'm looking over the sessions I've registered for (the annual conference isn't all eating and winning awards, after all), I notice a message of gratitude.

"Thanks to The Hinsdalean and Top Web for printing this year's Best of the Press."

I point it out to Jim. For one of the rare times in his life, he is speechless.

Had I been asked to put money on it, I would have bet we won the sweepstakes. But I didn't know for sure until I saw that thank you message. There was no reason for Jim to say there was no Best of the Press unless he was trying to hide the fact that we won the sweepstakes. For the second year in a row.

That was Tuesday. On Friday, we sat in the conference room with our drinks and our snacks and cheered as our name was announced as the winner of the Harold and Eva White Memorial Trophy. (We also cheered when we won the advertising sweepstakes earlier that day over breakfast.)

Last year, when I shared the news of our trophy at home with Dan and Ainsley, I told them it was the biggest honor the paper would ever receive - and likely the pinnacle of my career.

"No!" they replied, "It's the start of a streak."

I was doubtful, thinking immediately of the 2016 Cubs.

But now I'm feeling more like the 1992 Bulls.

Dare we hope for a three-peat?

- Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean. Readers can email her at [email protected].

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Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean