Edgar is missing. Again. Four years have passed since his last sojourn into the wild, but my guess is he made a date with a feline those years ago, and being a cat of his word, he felt obligated to keep his promise. However, he is late in returning. So if you see a medium-haired, gray pussycat in the neighborhood of Wasque, please give Lisa Gruner a call.

In other Gruner news, daughter Sarah will be the proud owner of a driver’s license soon. She will be driving a Volvo station wagon. At least she’ll be safe.

I have very little experience in the print news business — this gig being my first attempt since my tenure as comic strip editor for my sixth class monthly publication. But I think I can make an educated guess that news should not be fabricated — that the events I write about should have actually taken place. A simple enough premise I suppose, but as a rule it severely cripples my ability to produce this column. Confined to that which is fact, I have very little of interest to report.

So as I sit down to write each week (or in my case, peck at the little rectangles on my iPhone keyboard with the upper right quadrant of my forefinger), I must ask myself, what happened? And then I ask again. What happens on Chappy weekly? Surely there must be news of sorts? Yes?


Nothing much happens here at all. And if it does happen, there is a fine chance that you’ve already heard about before I did. Or at least before Friday’s publication of the Gazette. There are, of course, changes in weather. But the noteworthy ones are long past being news by the time I report them. Thus I am left to report more on the change of moods, the shifting tides of emotional investment and the aura of Chappy. That is Chappy news. Like the time on a wall clock, Chappy moves imperceptibly, but if you sit long enough all the positions of its features will have changed markedly. So that’s what I do. Live here on Chappy. Make note of its moods. Recognize when the smell of lily ends and the scent of wet pine begins. These are the things I believe that folks miss when they are not here.

This rumination reminds me of the lyric of a favorite song that goes, “We used to wait. We used to write letters. We used to sign our names.”

We used to wait for our news.

There was typically a gestation period before it was disseminated to the public by the press. Certainly for huge stories there was television to interrupt our regularly scheduled program. But these big stories are and were rare. We would wait for news from a loved one — those things that could be written, not said. This news, whether on note or newspaper, had a gravity, a permanence.

So when I question the relevance of today’s news as told through paper — daily or weekly — I remind myself that this is truly news. Everything that happens is new, but not every thing is news. The word written and printed on paper has gone through a process; it has been gathered, thought upon, sorted and translated by (mostly) professionals. People good at this stuff.

Somewhere (hopefully not just my mom’s house) there is a fridge with my column affixed to it. Crinkled, yellowed, brittle newspaper. You look at it and think — this is worthwhile.

I received the trade copy of William Faulkner’s handwritten Mayday via the Gazette office mailroom where it had been sent. Mayday is Faulkner’s love letter tale to “a woman he cherished.” It was part of a small collection of Faulkner’s works that had not been published but saved by friends and acquaintances of Faulkner. I received my copy in purple tissue paper wrapped inside a 1981 table of contents page from an April 1981 issue of Architectural Digest, stuffed into a musty brown padded envelope postmarked 1981, carefully packaged in a USPS priority envelope. A gift from a former classmate. She signed the book in pencil beneath a lovely note. No e-mail I have ever received has come wrapped in purple tissue.