I’ve never been fond of compilation columns or the laundry lists produced when deadline arrives before any decent ideas, but I’m going to indulge myself this week with a list of thank-yous amid the holidays:
• For the news-room staff at Evergreen Newspapers, the most talented and hardest-working group of journalists I know. We are small but mighty, and your 20 awards in this year’s Colorado Press Association contest say everything that needs to be said.
• For the end of the war in Iraq, and for the brave men and women who served us there. More than 100 journalists and media professionals lost their lives trying to remind the world’s citizens that a war was being waged in a horrifically dangerous and unstable place. My longtime friend Beth Potter, who briefly freelanced for these newspapers, spent two years reporting from Baghdad, and I’m especially thankful that she is safe and now working in Boulder.
• For the sport of ice hockey, which has given me loyal friends and cherished teammates, and on many occasions saved my very sanity.
• For the recent victory of common sense and tolerance in Evergreen. The decision to prohibit placement of a menorah at the Lake House was quickly and mercifully reversed, and a welcome was extended to any religious and secular symbols. A season of light is brighter still when every belief and perspective is honored and respected.
• For my family, who came to Evergreen from every corner of this country, and from other countries as well, to celebrate my wedding in September. And for four brothers, who came to a new country, fought for that country, and live on in the decent and loving sons and daughters and grandchildren they left behind.
• For a little cat without a name, who survived the cold and beat the odds.
• For Barbara Ford, who leaves us as the High Timber Times reporter but whose terrific photography will continue to grace these pages. And for her willingness to take care of a little cat without a name during the holidays.
• For my students, who inspire me, educate me and remind me to look deep and find my better self.
• For my new wife, Christa, who unfailingly sees and nurtures my better self through good times and bad.
Doug Bell is the editor of the Courier.