These are the thoughts of a Texas transplant in West Michigan who makes his living as a newspaper reporter by evening, and a struggling novelist by day.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

...and then there

i am the lone reporter at my paper of that era long ago when i joined the staff in holland.

monday john robbins came back from his vacation and turned in his two-week notice to say he's moving down south to a paper among the hills and trees. it was long in coming for him.

john is the last of the group of six reporters when i got to the paper in dec. 2003. then, there were only a couple of reporters who'd been there less than a year. the rest had been there muchlonger. slowly they left, one at a time.

i felt like an outsider, the southern boy coming north to a cold climate to a place where i knew no one and had to try and build friendships and knowledge of the area.

geez, this hasn't turned out the way i wanted. but i'm this far invested and i'll plod forward.

there is the list of reporters gone before john.

1) zach, the education guy. he left before the snow and thaw occurred in early 2004.
2) bob gold, the business reporter. he was a cool cat (everyone knew it) and he left in late summer of 2004 off to the east.
3) regan, who worked in allegan left in sept. 2004, shortly after bob left. she went off to chicago.
4) lesa, who was city reporter, was here and there, then left in early 2006.
5) john b., who did education and various other beats, is still there but switched over to the night desk and no longer reports.
6) john r., who has been at the paper neary six (?) years, reported for ottawa co. his last day is friday.

in between those, others have left, others who joined in the interim (krista c. and lisa k.) that came and then left.

and that leaves me, still at the night desk,the general assignmetn guy. so not really a true reporter. so maybe they're all gone.

eithere, i guess i'm the senior correspondent now. i should get my business cards changed to reflect that.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

run to the hills

for thos of you who don't know this, the blog title refers to the iron maiden song of the same title from 1982's number of the beast album. it pertains to the white man killing off the native americans.

i thought it was an apt blog title in light of the movie we saw today, "dances with wolves." i'd never seen it and simply started to watch it because dawn and i are watching all theAFI top 100 movies. but after about 30 minutes (it's a thre hour movie), i really got into it.

the movie, especially near the end, really saddened me. john dunbar befriends the native americans, gets to know their culture, is accepted, then ends up having to leave when the u.s. army attempts to capture him after he's labeled a traitor because he's taken up native american ways.

you get so wrapped up in the story that when it's over you realize it really happened, at least the native americans being hunted, pushed west, killed and put in cramped reservations far from their territory.

we are so proud of our great nation that we often forget what a sin americans committed as they pushed farther west, killing bison and native americans as they went. these narrow-minded fools thought of the native americans as simple-minded wild creatures, never really knowing how complex eaach native american tribe was or how intelligent they were.

i was saddened when the army boys shot at and killed cisco, dunbar's horse after mistaking him for a native american. then aftewards on the way to the fort, they shot at and eventually killed his pet wolf, two socks. that made me tear up. what a bunch of bastards. i was actually pleased when those fools bit it.

i also enjoyed one of the final scenes when wind in his hair yells from atop of the hill, "my name is wind in his hair and dances with wolves is my friend." it was so touching and poetic. he kept repeating it and you couldn't help but feel for him.

now i'm not a big historian or anything, but i think wht happened to the native americans was, well, genocide. no different, really, than what hitler had done to jews, except this took much longer and really wiped out an entire culture who had lived here for thousands of years, way before any brit ever thought of coming over due to religious prosecution.

"white man came across the sea/brouth us pain and misery/
killed our tribes, killed our creed/took our game for his own need

we fought him hard, we fought him well/
out on the plains, we gave him hell/
but many came, too much for cree,
oh wil we ever be set free?