Many people like to decorate their office walls with diplomas, certificates, plaques and awards they received over a lifetime of study and work. Many people, including me, have pictures of themselves with famous people nicely framed and hanging on their walls.
These office walls are commonly called “bragging walls.”
A few years ago, I decided to clean out my home office and replace all the plaques and certificates with pictures of family and friends. I’m glad I did it.
Now, somewhere upstairs in an extra room, are a few boxes filled with old wooden plaques. Many of those old plaques date back over 40 years. Several of the photographs I’ve put up, especially those of our grandparents, are a lot older than that, but they’re more fun to look at.
It is OK to be proud of your accomplishments. When you walk into a physician’s office or lawyer’s office, you expect to see their college degrees and professional certifications on display. You get a feeling of confidence knowing that the professional you are about to visit knows what they are talking about.
We have probably all been annoyed by someone who constantly brags about their accomplishments, but there is a distinct difference between a constant braggart and having a bragging wall. I always found it interesting to discover what friends and colleagues have done.
Simply look at their office walls — you can quickly see where they have been and what they have done. It can be interesting. It is certainly OK to be proud.
A friend of mine has recently given me a unique, new reason to brag.
Our good friends, Dean and Jean Feldmeyer, came into our lives nearly 20 years ago. They moved to Wilmington when Dean was given the assignment to be the Senior Pastor of the Wilmington United Methodist Church. One of the first things we learned about Dean was that he was a published author. I had heard of several ministers who had their writing published, but Dean was different. He had written mystery novels.
Dean’s first series of novels were written about a fictional preacher from Ohio named Dan Thompson. Pastor Thompson had made some bad choices. He had had an affair and was no longer allowed to lead a church in Ohio.
Some time later, his former church conference decided to give Dan a second chance. They assigned him to a remote church in a little town in eastern Kentucky.
He quickly became good friends with the local sheriff and got involved in solving a grisly murder.
When Debbie and I heard that our new pastor had books on the market, we bought a few and thoroughly enjoyed them. Quite honestly, they were unexpectedly good – exceptionally good. I did not expect my new minister to be such an excellent storyteller. Later I leaned that one of his books had received an “Edgar Award.” Named after Edgar Allan Poe, the awards are presented annually by the Mystery Writers of America.
Dean has also written several poems, plays and professional books about successful ministry, but I particularly enjoyed his detective novels. Now that Dean is retired from full-time ministry, he has found time to return to his passion for writing fiction. He carves out time every day to write.
Last year, Dean mentioned to me that I was going to be the inspiration for a character he was going to include in his next detective novel. His new series of novels are called The Nate Stonehouse Mysteries. The books will follow the adventures of Nate Stonehouse, a retire Columbus City police detective as he works to bring criminals to justice.
I was honored to find out that Nate Stonehouse’s sidekick is another retired detective – Riley.
In his novel, Charles Riley is only referred to as Riley or “Lep” short for leprechaun. Riley is described as short and stocky (moderately plump). He also has a famous “Irish temper” that he is not afraid to unleash.
Feldmeyer wrote in his new book, “Off Campus – A Nate Stonehouse Mystery,” that Detective Stonehouse was once told by his commanding officer, “There’s good news and there’s bad news, Nate. The good news is that Riley’s going to remain your partner. The bad news is that Riley’s going to remain your partner.”
Riley was written as something of a rogue. I like that.
I have been blessed to have had some interesting jobs in my life. I’ve received more plaques and awards than I probably should have received. It’s been a good life but being written into a detective novel as the heroes short, stocky, sometimes short-tempered sidekick… now, that’s something special.
Randy Riley is former Mayor of Wilmington and former Clinton County Commissioner.