This week, I made a faux pas, and got blasted as a result. Funny it is how words can harm. Words have started wars. They have soothed relationships and mended the unmendable. They have inspired artists and travelers, or the consumers of such. Societies are often built around constitutions and their enforcement. Words, still to this day, cause me to get goosebumps when the high note is reached during a rendition of the Star Spangled Banner.
Rather than write about a community reaction to my words, I've chosen to use words to write about my reaction to a community that I write about on a near-daily basis. In the copy that follows, you'll find my observations on Boonville. I am, after all, an outsider. I hope that some of my words have not been taken as those of arrogance – or those of outsider arrogance coming in to shake things up.
I'm no stranger to writing or editing. Or graphic design, video work, web-development, etc. I am new to small-town reporting. And there is no overstatement or exaggeration in my claim that Boonville is a small town. Don't send me any notes complaining about that statement. A spade is a spade, and Boonville happens to be one. It's a fantastically good spade, though.
If you are picking up the Daily News for the first time, you're unaware of my morning commute from Columbia. Now you know. I spend a nice chunk monthly on #89. The drive, though expensive, allows my brain to relax coming to and going from. My personality requires of me a constant state of activity. My job as a reporter, offered to me by the Daily News a short time ago, has provided me with that.
I've lived and travelled all around the world, many times over. Every setting in every city, town and country is conjoined with a feeling of uniqueness. That's the wonder and potential addiction of travel for many. If your soul brings with it an urge to experience a brand new emotion, drive somewhere you've never been. Or fly. Then, and only then, will you feel something that evolution can and never will be able to explain.
Boonville has an electricity that I've found nowhere else. I can feel its static as I-70 pulls my vehicle towards it each day. There are difficult days, yes. Of course. Each conversation's end, each post-interview, each time I submit a story, each time I walk away from an event – there is a level of unexplainable small-town satisfaction.
Boonville's placement, in the middle of a state that's in the middle of the greatest country on earth, is to be coveted. I-70 meets the Missouri River, quite nearly right outside my office front door, where history and commerce converge with about 8 thousand personalities. I get to cover these personalities. From the revitalization of Kemper to the hustle of Main Street, a dull moment I've not found. To say I'm thrilled to wake up and do this every day is an understatement. I feel proud to take part in it.
The concern I witness from story to story, from event to event and from encounter to encounter is, in no words or less, something unseen elsewhere. I, along with the rest of you – we, are in the middle of town that is revamping and developing itself without leaving its historical aspects behind. There are organizations assisting the needy, law enforcement that actually appears to help its citizens and a city council that seems to be in the business of improving the community for the sake of improving the community, rather than attempting in vain to make themselves look smart.
Saturday's parade marked me. Existentialism aside, I was hit with a feeling of youth that left me craving more. Many of you are sighing, possible rolling your eyes. Youth? You're in the middle of youth, young man. What do you know? 28 is not 15, folks, and I've been through the ringer and around the block, believe it or not. The parade, and all the activities attached to it, gave me that "Dennis the Menace" or "Leave it to Beaver" feel of complete innocence that my adult life has not provided me with up to this point. And Boonville was the place that it happened.
In this issue, you'll find stories and press releases that I've had a hand in crafting – stories that inform and help, rather than tear down. In Friday's issue, you'll find the same stuff. Next week, in our 3 print editions, you'll find the same stuff. And the weeks to come will contain like-content. Boonville, the small town that it is, has provided this content in a piece-by-piece way that sneaks up on the more magic-like parts of living. I get the pleasure of being a part of it.