All the presents under the Hammock tree are for Bill Hudgins today as he celebrates 12 years with Hammock Publishing. While he ripped through the paper and ribbons with the vim of a 6-year-old, I solicited his Hammock history with a few questions.
1. Dec. 15 is Hammock Day for you. How long have you been with Hammock Publishing?
12 years, longer than anyone else except Rex. I believe I am also the oldest employee, at 56-plus.
2. What do you remember most about your first day at Hammock?
I knew just about everyone here I had worked with most of them at Buntin Public Relations before Hammock Publishing was founded, and had also done a bit of freelance work here a few months earlier. But what struck me was the aura of freedom, empowerment and creativity for example, we were encouraged to investigate this weird new thing called the Internet. It was really like coming home after a long journey.
3. If you didn’t work at Hammock Publishing, what do you think you would be doing?
Working for LandLine Magazine, a trucking publication produced by the Owner-Operator Independent Driver Association. I write a column for them and occasional feature articles.
4. What was your favorite cartoon growing up?
“Rocky and Bullwinkle.” For better or (most would say) worse, it shaped my sense of humor and verbal skills.
5. What was your most memorable day at Hammock?
The second most memorable was just after midnight on the Sunday before Memorial Day 1998, when I was in Washington, D.C., covering the annual Rolling Thunder Parade honoring POWs and MIAs from our wars for a trucking magazine we published then called Road King. A freelancer named Mike Perry was with me and we were at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Later that morning, my wife joined us, and we rode with some 250,000 motorcyclists through the streets of DC. The next day I laid a wreath at The Wall on behalf of truckers. It was one of the most moving experiences I have ever had, and still makes my eyes mist over.
The most memorable was an occasion we dont talk about much here, but that changed the companys direction for the better.
6. Whats your favorite reality TV show? Would you ever participate?
The only reality show I ever watched, and I use the term advisedly, was “Dancing With the Stars.” I watched that because I started learning ballroom dance earlier this year. Yeah, Id give it a shot.
7. Where did you go to college?
Columbia University in New York City.
8. Where did you grow up?
Victoria, Va., a very small town about 65 miles southwest of Richmond. We have an accent there that sounds a lot like Canadian dog becomes doag, house hohse, that sort of thing. They used to grow a lot of tobacco, and when I was a young child in the ’50s, the now-vanished Virginian Railroad was the big employer. I havent been back in years.
9. What was the last book you read? Last magazine you read cover to cover?
I mostly read audiobooks. The most recent was Ann Patchetts Bel Canto, which I decided to read after she emceed the Nashville Area Literacy Council Spelling Bee that Hammock’s team won. I had also read her Patron Saint of Liars a while back and enjoyed that. Magazine? Family Handyman probably comes closest as the most recent.
10. If you could switch places with any other Hammock employee for one day, who would it be and why?
It’s a toss-up between Rex Hammock, so I could understand more about the stuff he blogs, and Carrie Wakeford, because she is an artist and I would like to know what it feels like to be able to do the kinds of work she does.