Setting the Record Straight

I am a proud devotee of fellow journalist Samuel L. Clemens (1835-1910), who nicknamed himself Mark Twain to author a wealth of entertaining literary prolifically enriched with wisdom. His exemplary genius has enabled me to word my way out of faux pas after faux pas over the years.
Imagine learning of your reported death and, without rancor or outrage, you simply set the record straight using your God-given talent and linguistic capability. Words are mightier than the sword, to be sure. So it is, that Samuel L. Clemens or Mark Twain, or another of his alter egos told this to an Evening Sun correspondent in 1897: “Just say the report of my death has been grossly exaggerated.”
This bit of groundwork brings me to the nitty-gritty of the issue at hand. Seems this magazine unwittingly buried a live corpse — I mean company. Page 54 of our May 2004 issue reports Perdue Farms’ acquisition of Cagle’s Inc., which is only half true.
“While it is true that Cagle’s divested itself of our Perry Complex and Perdue was the purchaser, we continue to be an active integrator in the poultry industry,” corrects Mark M. Ham IV, executive vice president and chief financial officer without rancor or outrage. Following is the full text of his communiqué to me:
Thank you for your understanding of my distraught upon reading the misstatement of Perdue Farms’ purchase of Cagle’s Inc. We proudly service major retail outlets, grocery chains, delicatessens, fastfood, institutional, and export markets. Our company, with over 2,000 employees, two processing facilities processing 2 million birds per week, and supporting live operation including a hatchery and feedmill, was founded in 1945. While publicly traded on the American Stock Exchange, the Cagle family still owns and controls a majority of the outstanding stock.
“J. Douglas Cagle continues to serve the company his father founded as chairman and CEO and is supported by a management staff averaging 20-plus years with the company.
As a comment regarding the future of our company, Doug stated in this year’s annual report in a letter addressed to our stockholders, “The Company will focus on relationships, values of integrity, quality, and respect . . .in order to strengthen our base foundation of employees, facilities . . .and customers.”
We all appreciate the efforts you and your staff go through to report industry events and changes as accurately as possible and again thank you for your willingness to correct this oversight.
I’m thinking of submitting a write-in vote for Mark in the next presidential election. I like his style. By the way, I’m hoping for an invitation from the company so I can make a full report on the status of its business — I can hope, can’t I?