Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV


July 14, 2013

A day out of the office

- — I spent Tuesday dodging cows, swatting gnats and stepping through fields of June bugs. My flip flops were covered in grass; the sun hadn’t warmed up enough to dry the dew off the blades of green at Doe Creek Farms in Pembroke, Va. An old white farmhouse — remodeled yet still quaint enough to transport one back in history — stood tall and proud. An old apple packing house shined through the morning haze; its red door contrasted beautifully with the rustic wood. Straight ahead rows of miniature apple trees promised sweet fruit. To the left, there were more rustic buildings, probably holding equipment. My eyes settled on two vintage gas station pumps, relicts from the past when gas was cheap and vehicles were new to many rural areas in the two Virginias. I didn’t know Doe Creek Farms — with all its charm and beauty — existed until a few months ago. A friend, who also works at one of my favorite salons, is getting married in August and had reserved the farm for her wedding. She said the area would also be a great place for a Prerogative fashion shoot. She was right. Doe Creek Farms was a great location. Of course, the cows and bugs added an interesting twist; those are not things I encounter during a typical day in the office.

So what is a typical day in the office? There is a lot of reading and writing involved, not to mention a few phones calls, meetings and brainstorming for ideas. But thankfully, everyday is different. The news changes every day; journalists are guaranteed a fresh story every morning. Granted some days are slower than others. Some days a Wednesday feels like a long Monday or a slow Tuesday seems like fast-paced Friday afternoon. You never know what the morning, or even afternoon will hold in a newsroom. As for me, I can count on certain days to be busier than others. Wednesday and Thursdays are filled with weekly occurring deadlines. The other three days are spent preparing for those deadlines, working on long-term projects or helping other reporters in the newsroom. Then there is the magazine and days spent outside on farms, old barns or the downtown area of our cities and towns. Those are my favorites.

Because of Prerogative, I have been able to explore the two Virginias through a different light, as an editor instead of a resident. It is always an eye-opening experience. Doors and windows become more than elements of a house. They change into backgrounds, necessary photo elements for photographer Eric DiNovo. On Tuesday, the red door of the apple packing house stood out from across the field. It called to my creative side, asking to be the background in the first set of photos. I was happy to oblige; so was Eric and our model who was wearing a classic gray dress. The rest of photos featured the rustic wood, the old farmhouse and yes, the vintage gas pumps. Sadly, the cows didn’t make their modeling debut. I have to wonder if I would have ever noticed those doors or seen the potential without Prerogative’s help.

It is a feeling I get every time I spend a day out of the office. I am blessed to be able to travel around, direct photos and interact with local residents. No, its not breaking news, or a high-profile story. But that is OK. Someone has to showcase the beauty of the two Virginias, whether it be downtown Bluefield or a red door in the middle of rural Giles County. Just when I think I have run out of places to feature, I find myself standing in the middle of such beauty and think, “Lucky me.”

Jamie Parsell is the Lifestyle editor of the Daily Telegraph. Contact her at or follow on Twitter @BDTParselll.


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