A nearby nut

Welcome to this week’s Reno News & Review.

I’m sitting here alone in the office on Jan. 1, 2007. What a date. I just got back from a week off in Nebraska. Kathleen, Hunter and I spent Christmas in Falls City with my dad and his wife, my brother, my dad’s wife’s son, my aunt and her new husband. Everyone seemed happy, relatively healthy—normal by some stretch of the definition.

We followed that up with a trip to Omaha to spend time with Kathleen’s parents, her sister and one of her brothers and his wife. Again, a good time was had by all. We ate good food, had good conversation and drank good wine.

I guess that’s what Christmas is all about.

You wouldn’t know it to look at me, but I spend a lot of time in my head. This year, more than any previous, I’ve been asked to imagine the future—in my home, in this newspaper, in this country. I guess I’ve written about it to some extent in this little column these past few weeks.

One of the things I’ve been asked to figure out is this newspaper’s place in the community. You’d probably be surprised to hear how much time we spend around here talking about such things. I’ll tell you something I’m not likely to say in the context of a corporate managers’ meeting. I view this newspaper as kind of the community’s family album—the stories and pictures that remind us of who we were, are and, to some extent, should be. I guess you’d have to know my family to understand why it’s so easy to make the metaphoric connection. There’s room in my family for everyone—the artists, engineers, geniuses, dolts, winners and losers, righties and lefties. Our arguments can be bitter, but nobody gets kicked out of the family just because they’re different. And no subject is too indelicate to bring up at the dinner table.

Does that sound hokey? It may be, but I guess the nut didn’t fall far from the tree. I wonder how many of you regard the newspaper in the same way—more like family than a good friend or bitter enemy.