By Mick Harper

My first brush with the Corrales Comment came in the winter of 1981-82. I’d moved here in the summer of ’81, was loving my newly adopted home village, especially all the eccentrics and other characters. One Saturday morning as I approached the front door of the Corrales post office… “Sir, want to buy a Corrales Comment?” I thought, “hmmm, a 13-year-old in a trench coat…”

Then I reflected on my days as a 10 year old newspaper boy, thought “Why not?” Later on I met Jeff hustling around refilling Corrales Comment vending machines, got to know him better, became friends, traveling companions and Legends in our Own Minds in the Backyard Volleyball circuit.

Arthur Miller said, “ A good newspaper is the nation talking to itself.”

Philip Graham said, “ the newspaper is the first rough draft of history.”

I say every community needs someone to guide that conversation to remind us the communal decisions we make will be our history. The role of any journalist is to ask questions. We all know about the who, what, where, when, how, and why of newspaper reporting.

A great newspaperman keeps asking more questions and more questions. Jeff Radford asks Corrales the right questions, then made us all re-examine our first, easy answers about the issues of the day, then finally arrive at a better version of Corrales. His questions allowed the charlatans and merely self-interested to reveal themselves.

And his questions got some of us who didn’t even know we had ideas to discover them and speak up and then get caught up in being involved even if we had always preferred the quiet anonymity of the back of the room.

Later on when I got to know Jeff better I discovered Jeff persisted in the worst habits many of us picked up in college… no, no, no, not that one, whatever you’re thinking. It’s the All Nighter. Did you ever pull an All Nighter before the big exam or to finish a term paper? How many of you know that before every issue of the Corrales Comment Jeff Radford pulls a nearly all nighter to finish writing it? I can’t imagine 40 years of writing all night 24  times a year; that’s dedication, not procrastination. That’s a story about how much Jeff cares about his community.

So, thanks, Jeff, for your years of dedication to the community, for years of genuine friendship and “Happy Trails” to you and congratulations on your retirement. Happy Trails to you.

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