Sometimes I offer opinions here that I assume will have little influence on Peabody Gazette-Bulletin readers because the thoughts seem more like personal musings than statements or ideas with a big impact on the community. It never fails to amaze me when those are the ones that capture the public’s attention and cause either a backlash of comments or requests for more information.
One of the most popular columns I ever wrote was about watching a red fox early one morning, down at the Burlington-Northern-Santa Fe tracks, sitting on his haunches watching a train slowly pass by headed for Florence. The fox’s head moved from west to east as the train passed and it looked like he was counting cars. I still get comments about that column although it probably ran seven or eight years ago.
The column from the past week’s edition seems to be of the same type. The purpose of the column was to encourage all of this newspaper’s readers — including readers in the younger generations — to make the most of their days and embrace all those things on their “bucket list” before it is too late. To drive home my point I used two acquaintances whose lives have been unexpectedly changed by serious health issues.
I did not think it was a particularly riveting column. I just wanted to offer our readers some reasons to kick it into gear and make a little headway toward achieving their dreams. However, a large group of people contacted me, hoping to find out who the individuals were that I referenced, or to say they agreed with the premise of the column and hoped others would heed my words.
Those wanting to know who the people were with health issues were not necessarily local gossips hoping to have some newsy nuggets to share. They were individuals who always remind me of why I enjoy living in a town like Peabody. They were people who cared and wanted to know if there was anything they could do.
Those who called to say they agreed with me generally had a story to share about some kind of loss, some reason they hoped others would heed my words and take advantage of the opportunities left to them, no matter what their age. I think they also would like to share their stories with others, but do not have the luxury of filling up an opinion column in a local newspaper every week.
So, here we are at the end of another column and I guess what I really want to do is thank those of you who let me know you read what I wrote and took note of my intent. There are not just a ton of perks to this newspaper gig, but every now and then my six regular readers and many of the rest of you simply make my day!
— SUSAN MARSHALL