Letter: A Christmas tradition worth copying (but not pasting)

It was my pleasure to provide publicity and coverage for this year’s Amissville Holiday Food Drive. Once again, area residents and merchants stepped up to donate funds and a mountain of food to go to needy families, plus flowers and fruit baskets to the local shut ins. All of the work was done by volunteers, who reflected the best of the season by thinking of neighbors in need.

I regret, however, that my Amissville column in the Jan 1 paper did not reflect the “best of journalism.” Checking the text on page A5, the copy was fine through Frank Fishback’s report that the more than 100 deliveries had been made by noon on Saturday, Dec. 20. After that, disaster struck. No, that’s in the passive voice; I need to come clean. I goofed. I messed up. Mea culpa. All of the following paragraphs, from “Weeks before” through the continuation on page A8, were from the story I wrote about the event last year.

I was jumping between this year’s version and what I wrote in 2013, and I somehow transferred over extra 2013 text that then “hid out” on the next page of the Word document below a bunch of empty pages. When I attached the final version in an email to this august publication, this year’s story was sent, along with a boisterous section from the previous year. This is what happens when you get clever  with technology.

Is this a problem? Indeed, yes. Last year, I worked with Jan Makela during the food distribution. I also quoted her rather extensively for the 2013 story. So, according to last week’s paper, Jan was again repacking boxes and taking in the holiday atmosphere. However, anyone who knows Jan is aware that she recently had hip replacement surgery (a great success, I am happy to report — really!) and had just then graduated to using a cane. Consequently, she was nowhere near Bethel Baptist during the food drive to touch a can of peas or sing a carol. And I can’t be sure whether my friend Rachel Summers delivered donation boxes to area businesses, although she did perform the service in 2013. Ditto for the rest of the accolades from last year’s story.

If my mixed-up story caused embarrassment or confusion to any of the wonderful people involved in this Christmas tradition, please accept my apology. And in future stories, I promise to be more careful with the “copy” and “paste” keys. (Has anyone found the “(be) careful” key?)

Best wishes to all for 2015,

Cathie Shiff