Sunday, December 18, 2016

Human Interest

My favorite pieces on the news are often the human interest ones. Despite my seeming obsession with local current events, I'll always jump at the chance to read, hear, or watch stories that give me a window into real people and their passions and concerns. I was never any good at memorizing dates and battles in history class. I wanted to know what people ate, what they wore, why they did what they did.

Here's a piece that's right up my alley. Plus, it has seasonal relevance.

Bowleys Quarters Santa goes from 'bah, humbug' to 'ho, ho, ho'

Written by Marge Neal, of the East County Times, it's a delicious dive into how one woman's love of all things Christmas morphed into a two-person mission of goodwill that brought her once-dubious husband into the mix. Marge treats her subjects with respect and affection. She has clearly been given the space to give this story more than just a shiny top-coat, and it shows.

Probably my favorite anecdote in the story is this, from Santa, about unexpected questions from children.

"One time a little girl asked me if Santa was allowed to drink [alcoholic beverages], and I told her it was OK for any adult to have a drink if they wanted," he said. "But I also told her about responsible behavior and I told her I would never drive the sleigh after having a beer."

Well, alrighty then. Who knew?

I have followed Ms. Neal's work since she came to town as a writer/editor for Columbia Patch, back when Patch was really a significant source for local coverage. She moved from covering Columbia to her own stomping grounds in Dundalk. After Patch's demise it has been an ongoing struggle to find a news outlet willing to hire seasoned adults, rather than fresh-out-of-college journalists who could be paid at the lowest end of the pay scale. It's great to see her find a home at East County Times doing what she does best. And loves best.

So take the time to click on the link and read the story. It's like a perfectly-made, perfectly-wrapped Christmas gift. You won't be disappointed.

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