To the editor:
My wife, Heidi, and I had no business being out last Wednesday night and I am not talking about the weather. True, it had stormed most of the day, but by the time we were ready to drive to Damariscotta, the roads were mostly clear. A few weeks before I had heard about an open house at The Lincoln County News. It was scheduled for that evening as part of a Business After Hours event for the Damariscotta Region Chamber of Commerce. Having no real connection with either, I wasn’t sure why, but I knew I wanted to attend.
Pulling into the driveway, we barely had enough room to turn around, let alone park. Our only option was to park next door at the post office and walk back on the road.
Once inside we heard a low murmuring of voices coming from an open doorway. Following the sound, we found a series of paper signs directing us where to go. It was like navigating through the bowels of a ship as each hatchway led to a bigger room. Finally, turning a corner, the walls opened wide, revealing an ark full of people mixed amongst machinery. It seemed more like a party than an open house at a workplace. The countless conversations, combined with various amounts of laughter, created a welcoming dull roar. Strangely, even with only seeing a smattering of familiar faces, I didn’t feel out of place.
With the opening remarks the crowd quieted, and we were introduced to the Roberts family and their faithful band of employees. After a brief history lesson and an update on their present-day offerings, everyone turned their attention to the large newspaper printing press that occupied most of the room. Slowly it started chugging away like an old locomotive printing the first few copies. Then, shifting gears, impressively it became a modern high-speed train spitting out papers faster than the eye could see. Handing out the finished product to the crowd, the smell and feel of the paper was comfortably familiar. It brought me back to my childhood when I would race my sister to the mailbox every Thursday after school to get the paper.
Snippets of my life came to mind. There was my birth announcement under the Hospital Notes, and that one time I made the honor roll in junior high, Heidi’s picture announcing our engagement, the kid’s ballgames, and more recently, my dad’s obituary. They are all memories torn from the back pages of The Lincoln County News.
The paper, like my dog Baxter, followed me everywhere I went. First to college then halfway around the world. It was always there to keep me updated on the people and places that mattered most, what I call “home.”
As the evening came to a close, we made our way back through the funnel of rooms. Leaving the dull roar of the open house behind, the murmuring voices I heard when we first arrived grew louder. They seemed to be coming from the walls, but they tagged along with me as I left the building. Like strands unwinding from a rope, the voices in the evening air became clear. They were from the Marilyn Sawyers, the Geri Wottons, the Faith Joneses, and many others long passed, who were committed to churning out their weekly columns.
Climbing back in my truck, I realized how grateful I was for all the people – past and present – who work hard to deliver our hometown newspaper. Life, and Wednesdays, just wouldn’t be the same without The Lincoln County News.