Praise the Press

May 2020

Hard to believe it has been a whole year since we picked up these two mischief-makers. They have certainly brightened our lives for the past twelve months and I’m so glad we got them in 2019. In 2020 it would have been impossible to jump in the car and drive across four provinces just to collect “free” kittens.  Another change in our “normal.”

May 2019

As we head into “after lockdown,” I’m reflecting on what has encouraged me during these past weeks. The calico cats are high on the list, as is my dh, my neighbours and my church — even though services have been virtual instead of in-person.

I’m also grateful to my local newspaper. When everything else stopped, my Victoria Times-Colonist arrived at the end of the driveway six days a week. I read it over breakfast before confronting a day that was weird and uncomfortable. The T-C, as we like to call it, kept me in touch with my neighbourhood. It told me what was open and what was closed. It published the daily epidemic figures. It published letters to the editor, just like before. It carried the funnies and syndicated columns to remind us of how life used to be.

Finally, the newspaper spearheaded a “Rapid Relief Fund,” raising over a million dollars in two days for distribution to those in need in our community. Over  time they raised six million dollars for food banks, housing, kids charities, seniors needs, and anyone struggling just to get by. It was a wonderful effort, strongly supported by large and small donors throughout the area. In an age when printed newspapers are considered a relic of the past, our local paper glued us together in a way no on-line service could. When I read the paper, I was reading about my neighbourhood.

I confess, I do like a newspaper. Heck, I even subscribe to the weekly from my old home town. The news there consists largely of who had the highest score at bridge or euchre and where all the church suppers are located. I just renewed for three years. This paper speaks to me of daily life in a small town. Births, deaths, marriages, anniversaries — they are all recorded and they connect us, one neighbour to another, kind of like extended family.

I may have a bias toward the printed paper. My great-grandfather was a newspaper man. I never met him but I have an old trunk that comes from him. It’s little more than a box, really and was how he ordered paper. It is big enough to contain  10 reams, or one bale of printers paper. It is a wooden box with a hinged lid, a lockable clasp, leather handles on both ends and is covered in very thin leather. It always makes me smile.

When I was a child it was used as a dress-up box, and it lived in my closet. After I left home, it became a treasure chest for my nieces.  Then they too grew up and the old chest came to live in my new home. Since I’ve no need for a dress up box, I now use it to store paper. I have a sense of rightness that the old battered box has come full circle.

Now, as we come out of lockdown and the world is opening up, I tip my hat to the local newspapers who kept folks connected with their home town, who lifted our spirits and still keep working to make sense of the world we live in.

What about you, dear reader? Do you read your hometown paper? Do you prefer your news on-line?

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  1. Laura Langston

    Great post, Alice. (And the kitty pictures were fun too!). Like you, I love a good newspaper. I try to keep up with news from Victoria and the Times Colonist is a terrific way to do that. It keeps me connected in a way nothing else can. I do get other news online, but there’s something about holding that newspaper . . .

    • Alice Valdal

      Not only great to hold, the old ones can be laid down between the rows in the vegetable patch to make a dry pathway between the peas and the onions. 🙂

  2. Jacqui Nelson

    Love your kitty pictures and your grandfather’s old trunk, Alice! Thanks for sharing them with us. I grew up without a computer, e-reader, or any other online device, but now I prefer most things digital. My oversized computer screen (and the ability to increase a font’s size) makes it so much easier to read the print.

    • Alice Valdal

      Enlarging the print has its advantages. 🙂 Thanks for commenting.

  3. Ardelle Holden

    Thank you for this post, Alice.
    I read my (adult) hometown paper, as well – but online. I had a column for the Art Society in The Lac du Bonnet Leader in the 80s. In the 50s, in Hudson Ontario, the local Bulletin was produced on a typewriter by the local CNR station agent’s wife, Lillian Purves. She would pop into the garage once a week to hear the local gossip, I mean society news, and recipes. I have several copies of it still. Wonderful to read. Your blog has brought back a lot of great memories. Thanks again.

    • Alice Valdal

      Love the notion of a newspaper produced on a typewriter by the station master’s wife. Power to the Press! Glad to know so many of us have an affection for the hometown paper. Thanks for commenting.

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