For anyone who's ever been in the news business, you'll appreciate this. Our top story today was that there is no more left-turn when pulling out of the courthouse parking lot.
Over the course of several years, I've covered murder, child molestors, floods, fires, break-ins, terrorism, storms, and enough political intrigue to fuel several soap operas. With a little effort, we could have pulled off something a bit more substantial. I had a couple of backup 'filler' stories I could have pulled out for use today, but elected not to do so just yet. There were some practical reasons - one investigation is still incomplete, missing one critical interview. I was also tied up with a new employee, trying to put together the paperwork and walk her through some of the processes. But I think the real reason is that the local community needed a reprieve, and so did my news team.
That's not to say I don't get a thrill from breaking a major story. That's a rush and a half. Of course it's somewhat less so now than it was when I was regularly scooping a network affiliate with five times our budget, but since now our station is the one to beat, I still take pride in being first.
The past two days our temperature has fallen some 25ºF, and with the change of seasons, this community seemed to recall that it's a small town. The pace is slower and neighbors stop each other on sidewalks and parking lots to laugh and gossip. There are people planning what they'll do for our Christmas light parade. The kids are out playing ball in the early twilight, giggling in their sweatshirts and jeans, waving at drivers. A few months ago, the wave might have included an extended middle finger and been accompanied by a crude verbalization of equivalent nature.
No, this hasn't suddenly become a perfect world, or even a perfect community. We still deal with drug dealers, rapists, murderers, and thieves. We still have domestic violence, theft, and countless other forms of mayhem. Our young people still struggle to learn the most basic educational skills, and try to cope with a world vastly more complex than it was even when I was a child in the 60's. Poverty is so all-prevailing here that when I gave away a calico kitten, her adoptive 9-year-old human 'mommy' named her 'Food Stamps'. The nearby San Carlos Indian Reservation struggles with a staggering 34% unemployment rate. We have the homeless, and those whose homes are little better than a stack of cardboard boxes in a dingy alley. We deal with mental and physical illnesses, pollution, a drought, and a faltering economy. And we deal with political figures who tell us we're out of line to want those things to change.
Sad to say, I can't imagine any of those facts will be going away soon. But for just one day, the lead story was a left-turn restriction.
Please, God - even if it leaves me out of work - give this community many more days where the top story is a turn lane at the courthouse.
Before - After
In the grander scheme of things, no soul can truly be replaced. Each one of us has a place in the universal tapestry. We each contribute our own color and texture. When one thread is snipped too soon, it distorts all the threads around it. Other lives can unravel and tear. If the wrong thread is ripped away, the whole fabric of life becomes dangerously fragile.
- LeiLani, aka Radiogurl aka Bright Opal (1957 - )