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When laundry day doesn’t come around fast enough


A member of my household, who shall remain nameless as much for the preservation of my own health and well-being as to protect them from potential embarrassment, once asked me why I had not washed their pants.

“Well, did you bother to tell me you needed your pants washed?” I asked. The answer, of course, was no.

Before I continue, I feel the need to explain: Everyone in my family is expected to pitch in for chores, but the laundry is strictly Mom’s job, by Mom’s design. Most of the time. There are exceptions, however.

One of those exceptions is made when someone forgets to tell Mom that specific items need washing, and it’s suddenly an emergency of global proportions.

In such cases, I like to tell myself, “Charge it to the dust and let the rain settle it.” 

Other people might say, “Your lack of planning is not my emergency.”

In any case, I’ve got other things to worry about and I know I’ve taught my family well how laundry ought to be managed, so I just make sure they have the equipment they need and let them get to it.

Because if I don’t know a thing needs to be done, and I’m just going about the efficient system I’ve created to run my house as I always do, I’m not going to know anything is different.

In a way, running a local newspaper isn’t much different. 

I’m an honest person, to a fault, so I dread the inevitable question — not a frequent one, but it is inevitable in that it does get asked from time to time: “Why didn’t you cover anything about [insert event or situation here]?”

“Well,” I’m inclined to answer. “Because I didn’t know about it.”

It’s not something a newspaper editor ever wants to admit. We like to think that we and our staff have our ears to the ground, hands in every pot, eagle eyes watching every last move, choose your metaphoric mix. But the truth is, we’re only human, first of all. Second of all, our newsroom is small, and we’ve committed to being a local source of local news for a local community that extends out in a 60-mile radius surrounding West Plains.

Sometimes that feels like a lot. 

But even if we were only covering West Plains, with its population of 12,000 people all doing different things, or Howell County with 40,000 people, also all doing different things and with greater physical distance between them, our newsroom of four would undoubtedly still miss a few things — if not for you.

And by “you,” I mean the readers who call us to tell us they just passed by what looked like a pretty bad wreck on 63 outside of Thayer involving a semitruck, and traffic’s backing up pretty bad already. Or those who shoot us a message to ask us what happened at 11:45 p.m. Saturday night out CC Highway that had all the responders … well … responding.

I also mean the folks who send us the emails and say, “I’m not sure if this would be of interest to you, but I thought it was interesting,” or just share a photo they snapped of a moment that took their breath away.

By “you” I mean my colleagues in local government and with area employers who keep us in the loop about things that may affect their respective constituents and customers, or to celebrate their employees’ milestones. I mean the community service organizations that tell us what projects they’ve been working on. 

Even the questions about potholes in prominent travel routes, city ordinances, what’s going in that building that’s been empty for the last couple of months — I make a note of every one, and I or my staff call the appropriate contact and do our best to get the answers when we don’t already know them. And then we monitor for a developing story that would have been completely unknown to us if not for you, the readers.

If there’s something you’ve been wishing that we would cover and wondering why we haven’t, we have no idea it’s something you care about if you don’t tell us. So send us your news tips: Give us a call at 417-256-9191, email me directly at abbyh@wpdailyquill.net, visit us at 201 Washington Ave. or send us a note in the mail to P.O. Box 110, West Plains, MO 65775. 

I’m not your momma, so I won’t make you wash your own britches and hang them out to dry when I don’t get to the laundry fast enough for your liking. 

But I tell you what…. If you just tell me what you’re looking for, I think we’ll all be a lot better off, don’t you?

Opinion, editorial, local news


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