COLUMN: It’s time to get to know each other

Whether it’s a community event, a political issue, a person in need or a school bake sale — this community takes things seriously.

Hello Nelson. I thought it was time that I formally introduce myself. After all, we are going to be spending a lot of time together.

For those who have yet to meet me — and there are a lot of you — I am the new editor of the very paper you are holding in your hands.

I come from the faraway land of Abbotsford, a city of about 147,000 people. It is also  the former murder capital of Canada and known for being the buckle of the so-called “bible belt.”

I worked at that newspaper for 24 years, covering everything from crime to council, sports to school board and more.

I met my wife there, bought my first house there, raised my kids there and became a grandfather there. You could say that Abbotsford is in my blood.

That’s why I knew it was time for a transfusion.

If the old saying is correct and life is a journey, I seem to have got stuck in the boarding area.

But no more.

Now I find myself transported to the Kootenays (man, I hope I spelled that right) to the beautiful, active, friendly community of Nelson.

Can you say culture shock?

I had no idea what to expect when I packed up my pick-up truck and drove the seven hours it took to get here, leaving my wife behind.

No, not for good, at least not that I’m aware of. She may have other plans!

Pearl should be joining me in Nelson in a few weeks, once the house is prepared for sale. She’ll be bringing our two dogs as well (thankfully the three boys, all now in their 20s, are being left behind to fend for themselves.)

Of course the last few weeks by myself have  allowed me to explore some of my favourite pastimes, like sitting and watching TV alone  until I fall asleep.

Well, that’s just one passion.

I also enjoy hockey. I took in a Nelson Leafs game the other day and was impressed by the skill and entertainment level. Of course now that they lost three in a row I’m hoping I’m not considered bad luck.

Speaking of hockey, anyone who has met me may have noticed the Chicago Blackhawks logo located, basically everywhere. Shirts, jackets, watch, it’s every where I go. Remember the word fan comes from fanatic.

Hopefully you Canucks fans won’t hold it against me.

My other vices include gambling, I’m a big Texas Hold ‘Em fan, football (CFL and NFL) and live theatre.

I know it’s a weird combination.

At Simon Fraser University I majored in English and minored in Theatre. So I’ve done a few shows in my time. What can I say, I like to be the centre of attention.

Of course the real question I have isn’t who am I, but rather who are you?

While I’m only beginning to learn the ins and outs of this community, I can already tell that I’m going to enjoy my time here.

Having sat in the editor’s chair for the past three weeks, I have learned that this community has a huge passion for all things Nelson.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a community event, a political issue, a person in need or a school bake sale — this community takes things seriously.

Nelsonites (Yes, I know I have to live here for 20 years before I call myself that) don’t seem to have that “not my problem” attitude that I found prevalent at my former location. Don’t get me wrong, there were big sections of Abbotsford that would rally for a cause, but here there’s a different vibe.

And, if you like something in the paper, you let us know about it. And if you don’t like something, then you tell us twice as loudly.

Don’t get me wrong, I like that. That just shows passion and interest and if the people are interested, then they read the paper. If they aren’t interested, then I might end up writing nothing but a web page, not a great career move for anyone.

No, community newspapers are here to stay because of places like Nelson. Places that are passionate about local events, local issues and local people. That’s why I know I’m going to like it here.

As long as you don’t get much snow.

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