To the point week of 05-8-08

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THIS IS A SPECIAL WEEK for me, because it’s an “anniversary” of sorts. On the day after the primary election in May of 19984, I came to Vevay and Switzerland County as the editor of Vevay Newspapers.

To say it was a hectic first day would be an understatement, as I walked into a newspaper office on press day. Not only was it the day we went to press, but it was also the day after the primary election, and there was plenty of election results to find, compute and get in the paper.

All in a couple of hours.

Things were going fairly smoothly (okay, it was chaos), when the production manager from our print shop in Madison called to ask when he might expect our election chart.

Having no idea that he needed an election chart, I told him I had no idea when he might expect it.

He didn’t exactly like that comment.

And so began the wonderful relationship that we shared over the next few years.

The weekend prior to my arrival there had been a parade in Vevay, and Madison Courier publisher Jane Jacobs had come to town to snap pictures of the parade to be used in the Vevay paper.

Except the film didn’t load properly, so that issue in May of 1984 contained a very detailed written account of each and every float. It also led to a reminder by Jane’s son, William, who now works at the Courier and has children of his own, that a “picture truly is worth a thousand words.”

Some higher power got us through that first day, and while I stood in the pressroom at Madison watching my first issue of the Vevay Newspaper roll off, I just wanted to home to my new apartment, complete with TV and sleeping bag, and collapse.

That’s when I noticed the pressmen loading the bundles of papers into the back of a pickup truck.

“That’s so they can be delivered to the stores for people to buy,” a guy named Joe told me.

“Really?” I responded. “Who does that?”

“You do,” was Joe’s answer.

Map in hand, I wound my way through the countryside that night. I went down China hill and into Canaan and then on to Pleasant. Then it was down to Moorefield and into Vevay; then to the store at Mount Sterling; down to Bennington, back to Fairview and East Enterprise, and then onto Rising Sun before finishing up with Patriot and Florence.

I will never forget the looks on the faces of a parking lot filled with cars at the Shop Quik (the old one that’s now torn down). As I got out of the truck and grabbed the bundles of papers tied with string, I saw all of these car doors start to open.

People had been waiting on me.

Oops.

One man pulled out a really big knife and opened the blade – that scared me a bit, after all, I had hoped to survive at least the first day. As he moved toward me, I thought surely there were enough witnesses to convict him, but I was late with the paper, so all bets were off at that point.

As I moved inside the store, the man whipped the knife blade, cutting the string and allowing the papers to fall freely into the rack. People then began picking up their papers and paying for them and heading back to their cars.

I heard some muttering about the “new guy” as they left, but surely the next week would have to be better.

It was, and now all of that seems like a lifetime ago. I’ve wandered a bit in these past 24 years, but I’ve always returned to the one true home I was meant to have, sitting at the back of the Vevay Newspapers office.

Thanks for such a great time.

*

Mom: I know that Sunday is Mother’s Day, and you know that I don’t always get a card in the mail when I’m supposed to, so I just wanted to say thanks for everything that you’ve done for me and that you still do for me. I may not always tell you, but I hope you know that I love you – a lot.

This hasn’t been a easy year for you, but you’ve got a husband and three boys and daughters-in-law and grandchildren who love you a bunch, so Happy Mother’s Day (in case the card doesn’t get there).