Two year Anniversary
Jess Shut Up
Well, about two years ago I started writing this column for The Star. It started with missing the missing trees and we have covered many subjects along the way.
In the beginning I was doing a monthly column, then every two weeks, and before I knew it I was doing it on a weekly basis. Yes, sometimes it is very difficult to come up with a subject that I can spin into my style of writing. If you have not noticed, I always try and put a positive spin on things. That in itself can be difficult and I have not always succeeded.
One of my other goals was to try and give you something to think about and try and coax you into carrying on the conversation either by discussing it at coffee or writing a letter back of your own. I have received a few replies over the two years, some in the paper and some in a private letter or email. I have only ever received one kind of negative feedback letter but it was signed with a false name, so I just kind of tossed it to the side. But many of you have had kind words for me, so, thank you for the support.
I now have a small fan base that stretches to Germany, Brazil and Thailand and other places that I am not sure of. My mother proudly makes everyone that comes into her little gas station in Wildrose, North Dakota read it and give her their opinion on the subject. Just as many of my co-workers do. I try and force the people at my house to read it and they get stink eye when they tell me they have not. Others have told me they have intimate family conversations surrounding my subjects. When I started all of this I had no idea that in some strange way I was tapping into the heartbeat of our area. Some agree with me, others don’t, but either way it gets the conversation started.
All of this wouldn’t even be possible for me without three people that need some credit. One, Mrs. Anderson, who I have written about before. She got me started in writing. Two, Scott Hunter, who allows me free reign to write just about anything I want. Three would have to be Reg Morgan. He wrote a column on these very pages for years and gathered a following of readers that enjoyed his witty banter and words on what was happening outside our doors. I owe all three of these people a debt of gratitude.
But if, while I was thanking people, I did not thank my wife for overwhelming support and encouragement, well, I just would not be able to get next week’s column out . And all of you. Those who go camping with me, spend time with me and sit and chat, all the time knowing that you just might make the paper this week but continue being yourself anyway.
The one regret I do have about writing this is, a few months ago I was going to do a Gem in the Coulee on Colleen Davidson. I asked her about it, and she respectfully declined, saying she did not think she had anything that others would want to hear. I respected her wishes and wrote about something else. She passed away not long after that. So I will just say this about her: She was one of the most loving, strong women in our community, and I considered her not only a Gem but a matriarch of our area. She had love that abounded, not only for her family but for everyone that knew her.
So here is to the next few years. Hopefully, I will continue being positive and keep getting fresh ideas to spur your thinker and get you talking. There is still a lot I want to say and see accomplished in our area, and right now I have the platform to speak from my heart and try and hit yours. Feel free to keep giving me ideas and yelling, “Jess Shut Up” in the stores or whenever you see me. Keep suggesting Gems in the Coulee and just because I don’t write something right away doesn’t mean I won’t get to it, eventully. Pstt. I don’t plan on shutting up for a while.