Archive for Thursday, October 30, 2008

So long, readers: I’m outta here

October 30, 2008

An Easter egg hunt? Are you serious?

That’s what I thought on my first assignment as the Basehor Sentinel reporter two and a half years ago.

The drive was long, most of my acquaintances had never heard of Basehor and I hadn’t even been hired yet. With only a bit of experience, the paper was sending me on a test drive to see if I could cut it as a reporter, using an Easter egg hunt to do it.

I suppose it was an excellent way to see how I would fare as in, “If you can make an Easter egg hunt into a story people want to read, then you’re hired.”

All the negatives were stacked against Basehor in my mind when I arrived at the annual Lions Club Easter Egg Hunt next to the old Veterans of Foreign Wars Hall, but they quickly disappeared.

As children scampered around with Easter baskets, and their own feet to get to the candy scattered in the lawn, I remember looking around and thinking, “This town is adorable.”

It’s quaint yet modern, suburban mixed with rural and the people are nice. What’s not to like? So I adjusted my attitude and when the job was offered to me, I gladly accepted.

I soon learned there’s a lot more to Basehor than egg hunts. From a funeral home to road rage incidents and a dead murder suspect found in the woods, Basehor gave me plenty to write. While some weeks were slow, more often than not when someone would ask, “So, are you staying busy there in Basehor?” I could honestly say, “Yes.”

Most of the news was good, which made my job not only easier but a lot more enjoyable. I had the pleasure of dodging Tootsie Rolls and Smarties as they flew from homecoming parade floats, listening to military veterans share their stories, meeting a visually impaired girl who could identify a coin just by the sound it made when it hit the floor, sneaking a peak into school classroom special programs, and watching wine-making. Those kinds of experiences may be unique to the job, but they are even more so to Basehor.

Now, there’s the bad news, the good news and then there’s just news. Being the optimist I am, I looked at the mundane as a learning experience. Sure, a social life on Monday nights was impossible due to the seemingly endless City Council meetings I was usually attending, but without them, I would have never gained the knowledge about government and city planning that I know now and will surely run across again in my life, nor would I have met so many helpful people.

Then, there was my absolute favorite (note sarcasm) — the Leavenworth County Fair, where I, Miss. City Girl, made my first trip to a hog farm and got closer to cattle and — ahem — other aspects of farm life than I ever thought I would. But, it was good for me. I saw what others enjoy, how they make a living and came away with an interesting story to tell.

Another bit of news, which I’m sure is already known, hence all the reminiscing, is that I’m leaving the newspaper and starting a new job next week. I’m lucky the two and a half years I spent immersed in all things Basehor was packed with experiences that will be useful in my next venture and future adventures. I’m also fortunate to have landed in a town where the people are welcoming and Easter egg hunts can become front-page news. While I said most of my goodbyes last week, feel free to drop me a line at laraehastings@yahoo.com.

Recently, I interviewed a woman who said, “There just seems to be a lot of people who really love that town.” And now I see why.

I’ll miss you Basehor, but I’ll definitely be back to visit.

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