There is a strange phenomenon attached to writing opinion columns for this newspaper. There is a rule with the Hoch Publishing folks that directs me to keep my comments in the local arena. Luckily for me, I am not allowed to write about our political candidates, their issues, or our political combatants unless whatever they are doing is being done in Peabody. I am not a student of political issues and have no desire to share my thoughts with you on those topics.
My job is to keep the topic of the opinion column local. Seldom have the Hoch Publishing people told me I could not print an opinion I have submitted. I doubt they have found my columns impressive, but I expect they have found them adequate. I am usually concerned about what goes into the opinion column each week. I try to think of things that are important to our community, but sometimes my topics miss that mark by a wide margin.
Often, when I am writing about what I consider to be a significant topic, I think, “Bingo!” I believe I have selected an issue that will stimulate conversation and perhaps, even, letters to the editor. Community discourse … we will have a discussion for the common good.
Nevertheless, what usually comes of those topics is nothing. Yup, it’s true. They rarely generate so much as a “Hey, way to go” and almost never a “Wow, you nailed them to the wall with that column!”
However, let me fire off what I think is a mediocre column about my desire for a new blue sweater at Christmas, a stuffed hen that I bought for the Married Daughter’s birthday and misplaced, or this past week’s column about recent events at the city park, and you folks are just all about it! I am not complaining; I just find it odd.
The big surprise was the response I got to that column noting some of the events that have taken place at the park in the past few decades. A good number of people commented that they appreciated being reminded of what has taken place at the park during their lifetimes! Who would have thought?
I meant to encourage all of you to go to the park on Saturday and participate in the events put on by the Peabody Historical Society. Many of you did just that, and I hope you enjoyed the day. Peabody City Park has been a terrific plus for the community since it was developed. If the column made you reflect on your own appreciation of our park, it served an additional purpose.
I guess if I must fill this space every week, it is good to know that from time to time the words mean something to more readers than the six I know I can claim. So thank you for your comments.
— SUSAN MARSHALL