hark, The Herald
It’s not unusual for my brother, living in southern California, or me, residing in the Rockies, to be the first to share news from the Des Moines Register or Centerville Iowegian with our mom in Ft. Dodge. Both he and I are avid online readers, which makes the 1800 miles separating our three homes pretty much a non-issue these digital days.
It also makes my ritual upon receiving a fresh issue of The Seymour Herald all the more fun. Where I only read the hard-copy of my own city newspaper on Sundays, just let that little weekly edition from southern Iowa show up in my mailbox and it’s coffee-and-catch-up time.
The Herald has been my annual birthday gift from my folks since I moved to Denver in 1972. Our farm was “next door,” in country terms, to that of the current publishers— the mom-and-daughter team of Karen Young and Vickie Young Decker. (Their husband/father Bernard was infamous for quietly phoning my mom to ask if she wanted to raise an orphan lamb. Which she always did. And which never merited a warm reception from my Angus-raising, sheep-eat-the-grass-too-short father.)
For many years, Mom was the paper’s weekly correspondent from Promise City, relaying news to then-publishers Wayne and Jeanne Davis. She gathered the who-visited-whom news, marking marriages and births, and extending sympathies when a neighbor passed. More than a few blue Bic® pens gave their all at our kitchen table. And when my friends Marilyn Snook, Dottie Warren and I were tagged to be student editors of The Pepper, working with the Davis duo and seeing that work in print proved a highlight of high school.
More than once, The Herald has kept me literally connected with other southern Iowa expatriates. Living on the east side of metro Denver, my copy was once re-delivered by the former Sandy Legg, as my paper had been tucked inside of hers. When I moved to the west side, it was my turn: Wayne Sell’s Herald was delivered to me, which mandated we meet for lunch to keep communications flowing.
It’s difficult to explain to those unfamiliar with rural ways or those still living in their original settings what that small, black-and-white missal can mean. It’s more than the news—although I love reading that my friend Doris’ granddaughter was crowned Miss Rodeo, my friend Marvin has served another season shoveling in the Iowa State Fair arenas or my friends Marilyn and Dottie—yes, the same ones with whom I co-edited 40-plus years ago—just spent long weekends with their families.
No, for me, the best benefit is the way it helps me keep pace with life changes as they’re occurring. Farm kids learn early, and sometimes not easily, that seasons come and go and come again.
The Herald brings that home.