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Volume 13, Issue 47 ~ November 24 - November 30, 2005


Our Time for Hopes, Plans and Stories

Families stretch far and wide, but this time of year proves there’s still pull in the elastic. By car, bus, train and plane, we tighten the band for the holiday that’s become our national day — weekend or week — of reunification as kin and kith celebrate their bonds of blood or choice. Often, we can even give thanks for the experience, as M.L. Faunce recounts in this week’s Bay Reflections.

(Of course there are the other times, the mother-threw-the-turkey-in-the yard Thanksgivings, but those stories are best recalled in the hilarity — and numbness — of a couple of glasses of wine.)

Thanksgiving is a time for hopes, plans and stories — for no matter how awry the plans go, the stories can set them aright.

Ordering the turkey opens the door to that library of personal history where all stories dwell, dusty perhaps, but ready and willing.

Here comes one now, shaking off the dust and reporting for duty.

1992 was the Thanksgiving of Bay Weekly.

Yes, let’s do it, Bill Lambrecht, Sandra Martin and Alex Knoll had agreed in the fall of 1992. Let’s start a newspaper.

By Thanksgiving, intention had resolved into a preliminary business plan. So we made a visit that cold November to Sullivan, Illinois, newspaper publisher Bob Best. We shadowed Bob and his wife Marion through the pre-Thanksgiving production cycle of their twice-weekly paper, learning that you could start a newspaper on faith but you could only keep it with money.

“Finding good ad people is like pulling hen’s teeth,” Best told us. It’s horribly difficult. Don’t stifle them by keeping them from making money.”

Bob mixed his metaphors, but he spoke the truth.

We’d not have gotten that front-line wisdom or experience were it not for the ties of family and friendship. Back then, the Bests’ daughter, Kathy, was Lambrecht’s protégé, having followed him first to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Springfield, Illinois, bureau, then its Washington, D.C. bureau. In years to come, Kathy Best would leapfrog past Lambrecht to become metro editor first at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, then at the Post-Dispatch and now national editor at The Sun.

Our timing was good; a Thanksgiving later, Bob Best would be dead. He died November 21, 1993. By then, Bay Weekly was a struggling sprout.

There’s more than turkey to Thanksgiving. There’s magic more powerful than time in the hopes, plans and stories shared as we gather together.

© COPYRIGHT 2004 by New Bay Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved.