Memories of former editor Barry Tait

The author recalls lots of laughter while working with former Journal editor Barry Tait. Barry passed away on Oct. 10.

Dear Editor

What surfaces immediately is laughter. I’ve never worked with any body funnier than Barry Tait. We spent so much time laughing at The Journal office, we got a complaint from the then publisher, Judy Stuart. But honestly, Judy, we were working.

Barry was editor and I’d been hired to cover Logan Lake, and Clinton municipal news, attending council meetings in both communities. I spent a lot of time travelling. I’d bring in my copy and Barry made sure it was readable, though his own was often a mystery to some of his readers.

Here’s one prize comment I recall: “If it hasn’t got four legs, forget it.”

Meaning, of course, dogs and horses, the main subject matter of so many of Barry’s editorials and and articles, so many of which were hilarious.

Another, prize comment I’ll never forget, came from Ken Kidder, the illustrious head of the then Board of Trade: “Did you read this article Esther?” pointing a finger at a front pager in The Journal. “I don’t understand a word of it.” I’d seen Barry’s chicken scratches in his notepad, and could well understand why Ken didn’t understand. Neither could I, but it didn’t seem to matter.

Very little of Barry’s humour, as I recall anyway, was at someone else’s expense. He just saw the irony and the humour in most of the goings-on both in municipal and provincial politics. I’d walk into The Journal office and Barry’s nook in the back there facing the front window, and we’d laugh from the time I walked in until I walked out.

Being the editor of course, Barry covered Ashcroft and Cache Creek news. The communities farther flung, I took on. It was a neat part time job for me and provided extra income. I also wrote features, interviewing dozens of persons in my time with The Journal, and writing as many articles about this and that. Barry appreciated me taking that load off his back, I’m sure. But he was not one for compliments. He’d read my stuff, and use it without comment, other than to make some quip about the goings-on in them. Barry’s ability to see the irony in things was the equivalent of a dog with a buried bone – he’d find it one way or the other., and when he did, you’d see  it too, and the laughter  began.

There was something about the big, burly guy, his crop of thick grey hair covered by a well worn cowboy hat when he was about, that left a very definitive image in the mind. Barry was the archtype small town newspaper editor. You couldn’t mistake him for anyone else. He wore the role like a glove.

Barry couldn’t resist a good line, no matter how unfair it might have been. When a guy named Norman Fowler, accused me of post menopausal something or other, Barry printed it. I still haven’t quite forgiven him for that.

Didn’t I just write that his humour came at no one’s expense? I lied. In that case, it came at mine. But Fowler could be a very funny man, and I wasn’t the only one his merciless pen attacked.

Barry’s imperturbable demeanor, his four square presence at council meetings, always gave the Press a little more  authority (I like to think) than some ordinary reporter’s. Barry was never ‘ordinary’ in any sense of the word. You might say, he was extraordinary.

That’s all I’ve got to say about Barry Tait. Well, not quite all. Wherever that ineffable spirit of yours is Barry, I know there’s one heck of a lot of laughter.

Esther Darlington MacDonald


Just Posted

Lincoln Mckoen. (YouTube)
Anglican bishop of the central Interior resigns over sexual misconduct allegations

Lincoln Mckoen was elected as a bishop of the Territory of the People region last year

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interior Health COVID-19 cases falling slower than the rest of B.C.

More than a third of provincial cases announced Thursday came from the Interior

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Second dose vaccinations accelerating throughout region: Interior Health

To date, more than 675,000 doses have been administered throughout the region

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Golden Ears Mountains, captured in May 2021. (Black Press Media files)
2nd year of day passes required for entry into 5 provincial parks launches in B.C.

Pilot program seeks to protect the environment by addressing visitor surges amid the COVID-19 pandemic

The former Kamloops Indian Residential School on the Tk’emlups te Secwépemc reserve. (Allen Douglas/Kamloops This Week)
Tk’emlups preparing for archaeological work at B.C. residential school site where remains found

The 215 graves are, to the band’s knowledge, undocumented deaths for which it is still collecting records

Fans watch the warm-up before Game 6 between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens in NHL playoff hockey action Saturday, May 29, 2021 in Montreal. Quebec’s easing of COVID-19 restrictions will allow 2,500 fans to attend the game for the first time in fourteen months. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Two-thirds of Canadians say governments shouldn’t lift all COVID-19 restrictions

Poll reports Canadians who gained pandemic weight say they have gained 16 pounds on average

Paul Bernardo is shown in this courtroom sketch during Ontario court proceedings via video link in Napanee, Ont., on October 5, 2018. Teen killer and serial rapist Paul Bernardo is set for a parole hearing today. The designated dangerous offender, has been eligible for full parole for more than three years. Bernardo’s horrific crimes in the 1980s and early 1990s include for kidnapping, torturing and killing Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy near St. Catharines, Ont. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Greg Banning
Killer rapist Paul Bernardo faces parole hearing today; victim families opposed

Designated dangerous offender has been eligible for full parole for more than three years.

People look over the damage after a tornado touched down in Mascouche, Que., north of Montreal, Monday, June 21, 2021. Dozens of homes were damaged and one death has been confirmed. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
One dead and extensive damage as tornado hits Mascouche, Que., north of Montreal

Damage reported in several parts of the city, and emergency teams dispatched to sectors hardest hit

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

Most Read