The times, they are a-changing

The editor muses on changes, large and small, one of which is leaving her teary-eyed.

In his epic poem “The Faerie Queene” (1596), English poet Edmund Spenser wrote of “the ever-whirling wheel of Change”. I’ve been grappling with this myself recently, albeit somewhat less lyrically then Spenser did; which is why you might see me a bit teary-eyed in coming weeks. But more of that anon.

Keen-eyed readers of The Journal might notice a few changes to the look of the paper over the last two weeks. The reason is that until the issue of September 8, the paper was laid out by the editor, meaning that I was responsible not only for the content, but for the look of each page: where the stories went, what size the headlines were, where pictures were placed, and more. I’ve likened the process of laying out a paper each week to putting together a jigsaw puzzle; except that while I had all the puzzle pieces, I had no picture on the box to guide me as to what the final picture would be.

Black Press, which owns The Journal, is moving to a new system where every paper in the chain will be laid out by a designer (in the case of The Journal, a very nice lady named Janelle Baldwin who works in Kelowna). I still have a say in how the paper looks, and am pleased with how the process is working so far, but it’s a big change to the way things have worked until now; one that is taking some getting used to.

The bigger change alluded to above—the one that might find me reaching for a tissue—has been occasioned by the fact that my son Tim, who just turned 19, has been accepted as a dispatcher for the RCMP, and will be starting work in Prince George on October 6. Now, it is not an entirely unexpected development for your child to leave home and start a life of his or her own, but for the past 18 or so years that day was comfortably in the future. Suddenly—or so it seems—that day is not in the far future; the time until it arrives is not measured in years, but in days.

So while I find myself prepared in some ways—assembling the 101 things necessary for furnishing a first apartment, helping Tim sort out bank accounts and a credit card, booking a trailer—I find myself woefully unprepared in others. A Halloween store has just opened in Kamloops, I note, and realize with a pang that Tim will not be here for Halloween this year; an event we both looked forward to, with ever-more-elaborate displays each October 31. He will probably not be here at Christmas, and we will not sit together on Christmas Eve, laughing crazily at the corny jokes in Rich Little’s Christmas Carol (“I’d like to compliment you on your work. Let me know when you’re going to start.”). There will be no one here to roll his eyes at my complete and utter lack of ability to fix anything that goes wrong with my computer.

I will be taking the next two weeks off, to attend the Union of BC Municipalities conference in Victoria and then help Tim move to Prince George. I will still have a few pieces in the paper, and look forward to being back. If, when I am back, I look a little weepy, you will understand why. Just don’t mention Halloween.