As 2019 approaches, (and the absolute lack of story ideas and news-type-activity has ground to its annual ‘holiday halt,’ I thought I’d take a little trip down memory lane, reliving one of my favorite “learning and growing experiences” provided by my talented and witty colleague Mr. Tom ‘Tommy-Boy’ Wearing. I’m having trouble nailing down the exact date, but I believe this column was originally published about 10 years ago.
“Hey, Tom, can you come in here a minute?” I ask. Though the tone of my voice is level, my heart is racing, blood pressure rising.
It’s Tuesday and we’re waiting to give the pages a final look over. Maria’s at her desk doing this and that, I’m in my office, and Tom’s in his corner cubby doing his thing too. We’re all pretty brain dead, so we’re not really working on next week’s paper. We’re just trying to make sure everything’s okay with this week’s issue. It’s only around 4 p.m. but it feels close to midnight.
“Can you take a look at this and help me be okay with it?” I implore. I’m really about to lose my mind and Tommy-Boy is always so even keeled and tender-hearted I feel I need his input before I make a potentially huge mistake—before my evil twin exposes herself only to regret it later.
I’m asking him to take a look at a letter to the editor which I just received via an email alert. Here’s what it says:
A new ‘Letter to the Editor’ has been submitted through your Web site.
Phone Number: 395-****
City or Town: Allenton
I just have to say this is a wonderfully constructed and highly significant story about the increase in water pressure in Almont. I’ve noticed that when taking bi-weekly showers, there have been instances where the intensity of the water flow knocked the bar of soap from my hands. This is a new development for me and one that I feel Almont officials should be made aware.
On one occasion, the water stream was so strong that it nearly knocked me over, resulting in heart palpitations and bouts of anxiety when I attempted to fall asleep that evening.
God knows, water can indeed be a good thing. But when the flow is as fierce and potentially injurious as it now is in Almont, serious problems, possibly even law-suits, are likely in the village’s near future.
P.S. I love Town Talk and any feature stories that involve knitting, face-painting or ground hog capturing. Thank you for your wonderful newspaper!
“Do you know this guy?” I ask Tom, voice tight, fists clenched. I roll my chair back away from the computer screen and inhale deeply.
I’ve gotten some pretty nasty communications over the years about our “little newspaper,” and at the end of a long week
on Tuesday afternoon this one is taking the cake. As one of four writers here who use all of our might
to fill these pages week after week, this witty
communication is hitting me the way, way wrong way.
It’s true we had a story about the increased water pressure in Almont on last week’s front page. It’s true that it’s not necessarily earth shattering news. Sometimes there’s just not too much going on except everyday life, and that’s what we have to draw from. Plus, Almont officials were pleased enough about the situation (the water tower project was a big one) that they let us know about it.
It’s also true that we feature stories on people who knit and/or make things from time to time. These are the people who make up our community. And occasionally kids with cutely painted faces work their way into the pages. And yes, Randy has, from time to time, written about groundhogs, coyotes, deer, moose, and other wild creatures.
Truth hurts, they say.
But what really, really sends me over the edge is the Town Talk reference. This particular feature in our paper is not so easy to put together. It is yours truly’s job and believe me I would know.
So I turn to Tom as I’m about to dial the phone number listed on the letter.
“Do you know this guy???” I implore.
“Yes,” Tom answers blankly. “I just wrote it.”
The hysteria that ensues is better left undescribed. Suffice it to say I’m a little bit touchy and he’s a little bit funny and it’s always better to be the latter. Lesson learned. Truth hurts.
So please, regardless of what you have to say, keep those cards and letters coming….except maybe you, Tommy-Boy. You’ll be too busy on your next assignment investigating the composition of the soil properties near the wastewater treatment plant in Almont, followed by
an in-depth look at the chemical makeup of yarn produced from locally grown sheep. Who knows. Maybe you’ll even work your way up to Town Talk.
Email Catherine at firstname.lastname@example.org
Catherine Minolli is Managing Editor of the Tri-City Times. She began as a freelance writer with the Times in 1994. She enjoys the country life, including raising ducks and chickens.