By Tony Hooker
For the past four and a half years, I’ve written this column almost weekly. That’s 4 columns a month, 12 months a year. If Mr. Herrmann was able to beat anything into my granite like skull, that equals somewhere in the neighborhood of 275 columns. I’ve always tried to be positive in tone, and I promise that I’m going to continue, even in these freaky days we’re living in. So, without a subject to focus on this week, it’s time for a potpourri, so strike up the band, or something.
One of the coolest things about being given free rein in my contributions to this paper is that I get to pick my topics. It’s also one of the most frustrating, because I want to write about things that are interesting to those who make the decision to spend their hard-earned cash on this publication. I can say with all honesty is that some of the most rewarding columns and stories I’ve written are about the kids at the school. I’m not sure if they’re that popular with our subscribers, but I sure hope the students and their families enjoy them.
To say that I love and care about all of them isn’t too much of an overstatement. I want to share their stories so that they know how valued they are, and so that maybe, just maybe, some second or third grader or younger sibling will get wind of their story and want to emulate them in the future. I always figure that if one kid stays focused and out of trouble because he’s participating in an activity that he or his parents heard about through this newspaper, then my efforts won’t have been in vain. Besides, this is kind of my jam and I derive much pleasure from it. And now, all of those interscholastic activities have been put on hold. For the underclassmen, there is always a chance that they will have next year. Not so for the seniors, and with that in mind, in this and future editions, I’ll be sharing their thoughts. I’m starting with the athletes because that’s the population I know, but hopefully we can work senior students from other groups and organizations in. It’s a daunting task, but I feel like it’s the least that I can do.
In this time of sheltering in place, one of the things that I’ve used to take my mind off the world’s troubles is to go for long walks. I walk by myself, and I studiously avoid others and it helps me get out of my own head. One thing I’ve noticed is that there seems to be a lot more families who are riding bikes and going on walks and taking their pooches for strolls together. I know here in Hookerville, the mighty Zeus and the porcine Noodles have benefited from several family outings that may not have happened in days past. There has also been a dramatic increase in family game nights. Mama and I are still the queen and king of the Euchre table, but the offspring are gaining fast. As for Monopoly and Spoons, I’m not even in the same league as my kids, and unfortunately I don’t see that changing any time soon. Really though, that’s not the point. The point is that we’re spending time together that we might not have spent, pre-pandemic. Maybe if there’s some small point of light here, it’s that our focus has turned back inward, just a bit. To my way of thinking, that’s a good thing. Have a great week, and as always, if you have ideas for future columns, please share them!