Proud to have played a small part in Packet his­tory

The Packet (Clarenville) - - Sports -

I joined the Packet in Septem­ber 1996. When I think about my time there, it’s per­pet­u­ally au­tumn, with Clarenville and Shoal Har­bour cloaked in burn­ing golds and reds against navy blue skies and the choppy white waves of

Smith Sound.

Ev­ery town, cove, tickle, bight, sound and har­bour I cov­ered in Pla­cen­tia, Trin­ity and Bon­av­ista bays over the next two years stole my heart. And the peo­ple, some of the kind­est and most in­ter­est­ing I’ve met, freely shared their sto­ries with me, happy or sad, for bet­ter or worse.

One thing al­ways struck me about this part of the is­land: be­hind ev­ery post­card vista and warm wel­come was some­thing of a hard edge. I think it came from liv­ing lives built on re­lent­lessly un­cer­tain in­dus­tries in harsh con­di­tions and land­scapes – rock-hard, back-break­ing, ice-cold work.

That feel­ing was etched into ev­ery field and cliff and bay, al­ways re­mind­ing you that a per­son could be con­tent here, but only if they were tough enough; a won­der­ful, invit­ing place that suf­fered no fools.

The Packet was like that too, the em­bod­i­ment of your friendly com­mu­nity news­pa­per brim­ming with heart­warm­ing sto­ries about neigh­bours and friends, their achieve­ments and en­deav­ours, wins and losses.

But make no mis­take – the Packet was then, and re­mains now, a tough­minded news­pa­per, brave and un­flinch­ing when nec­es­sary, fair and bal­anced al­ways.

I learned a lot there about re­silience, courage and fair­ness, and I learned it the hard way from Bar­bara Dean-Sim­mons, Kathy Gosse, Anne Barker, Roz Smith, Ruby Boone and Bon­nie Goodyear.

When I think of what it took for us to get the Packet into read­ers’ homes – from news­gath­er­ing to writ­ing to lit­er­ally de­liv­er­ing bun­dled news­pa­pers to stores and car­ri­ers – I still won­der how we man­aged it, hu­mour in­tact and fu­elled by tea, Co-op store bread and truly ter­ri­ble puns.

But we did it gladly, week af­ter week, as “Pack­e­teers” have been do­ing for 50 years now. I’m proud to have played a small part in that his­tory.

Linda Skin­ner

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