This morning I woke to the news that a good friend and long-time part of the Herald Democrat Edward "Mike" Southerland died late Wednesday night after a brief stay in hospice. For nearly a decade, Edward wrote for the Herald Democrat primarily as a feature writer, and most recently as the editorial voice behind Best of Texoma.


While, I didn’t know him as well as some of the others, I feel like I developed a friendship with him that crossed the generational gap.


One of the first things we bonded over was a mutual love for food. At the time, Southerland was writing about local restaurants in the area, including restaurant reviews. I had the opportunity to accompany him on a few of his visits to restaurants, and that was the first time we started to talk.


We both had a passion for food, but came from two different schools. Where as he had a taste for the traditional including many American staples, I was able to introduce him to some Asian recipes and restaurants in the area.


Over time, I got to know Southerland and his past work, nearly a decade prior, at the Herald Democrat. In many ways, we were opposites when it came to our approaches to this work; while I focus on news writing, Southerland’s passion was for the human interest and feature writing.


On occasion, he would later come to my desk and ask me how I could write news, while I would ask him the same about feature writing.


Over a few meals, he talked about his other passions, including reading and a love for classic cinema. At the time, I was exploring classic movies, and would turn to him for recommendations, especially westerns.


Since he left the paper over a year ago, I would run into Southerland occasionally at a local burger chain where he would go to eat breakfast almost every day. I’d sit with him each time we met, and we’d return to our talks over a good meal.