Vanessa Pellechio Sanders
Covering the Dedication Day program last Saturday by myself was exhilarating and terrifying at the same time.
Why would I say terrifying? Well, this was my first huge event where I needed to take photos to go with the articles. I wrote an article on the overall Dedication Day program and another piece on the Naturalization Ceremony.
I got there an hour early to scope out the property. I checked around to see where my best angles would be. The sun decided to make an appearance from behind the rostrum, causing glares, harsh lighting, and dark shadows. It was an adventure to say the least. I am always up for a challenge though.
On top of the adventure with the photos, I was tasked with interviewing people and taking notes from the speeches. While it made for a long day, it was fun getting to talk to people.
I met a very nice couple, Terry and Sherry Hall, from Cumberland Township, who mentioned all their friends always make it in the newspaper. They wanted to get in the newspaper, too! I took their photo before the wreath-laying at the Soldiers’ National Monument. I am not sure when their photo will run, so I figured I would give them a shoutout in my notebook.
Before the Remembrance Day Parade, I was able to chat with people near the intersection of Steinwehr Avenue and Baltimore Street. It was nice to strike up a conversation with a complete stranger and learn something new about town.
The Remembrance Day Parade was special to see. While I was in photographer mode and took hundreds of photos, I was blown away by the number of people who participated. It was wonderful to see the community come together.
Once our intrepid editor got me thinking about thanksgiving, it was hard to stop. So what follows is more like part II of our notes of Thursday’s thanks.
My stint working as a stringer for the local newspaper is a return to a focus that began in college when I served as editorial page editor, writing a weekly editorial and editing other entries. Even then, I enjoyed the collegiality of an excellent editor and roommate Barry Rabe, who went on to teach and publish several books in political science at the University of Michigan. He talked me down more than once from an attack on the new college president, made better by leaving it out of the final version.
Since the mid 1980s, I wrote for church publications, covered national and global church news and worked with scores of very talented writers, from whom I learned much. It took me to interesting places across the US, all quarters of New England, Germany, Namibia, and the Middle East. But it’s the good editors who keep writers out of trouble, and so my thanksgiving list includes Carolyn Lewis and Eric Shafer, Caroline Ackerman and several other stellar communicators.
One of the interesting editors was the crusty and seasoned journalist Charles Austin, who wrote for the New York Times before taking on church publications and communications, and if I recall correctly, the Hackensack Record after he retired from church work. He assigned me to cover the issue of sexuality and ordination at one of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America conventions where it was the hottest debate. (Thanks, Chuck!) I learned an awful lot from these folks.
Prior to learning from these masters, it was multiple high school teachers who cared about every student’s writing ability and cracked the whip on us early. I hope that is still happening in school now.
And it was my luck to work with and for Michael Cooper-White who had the best proof-reading eye of them all. Gettysburg now knows that my work in communication for the seminary was an easy task given his skill level. So my thanksgiving runs deep for the folks who have kept me out of trouble decades ago, in recent years, and Deb and Jim who continue to operate the writer’s safety net. We owe you all.
I heard quite a clatter outside a few nights ago.
I was curious about the loud, unusual sound, so I stepped out on the front porch to take a look.
The source of the noise shouldn’t have surprised me, but it did.
I must have heard the sound a hundred times before, but if so, I didn’t recognize it.
Rolling and skipping down the street, seemingly in no hurry, propelled by a steady but not too insistent wind, were a few big, brown, curled-up leaves.
I think their size and the way they were corkscrewed in upon themselves created something like an echo chamber. The sound was not unlike hooves clopping, but without the rhythm.
It can’t have been the first time I’ve encountered that sound. Maybe it just never happened when it was quiet enough both inside and outside the house for me to notice it.
Or maybe I’ve just forgotten. Sometimes, my memories are like leaves. They seem to fall away and ride the wind, tumbling down the long lane of time into the night.