A real, live newspaper!


As I was shoulder-deep trying to snag a butter clam from Netarts Bay on the Oregon coast, I noticed humans on foot were gone, humans in boats had arrived. We were on a sand bar and the tide was coming back in. Barry and I grabbed our stuff and started running back to shore, slowing down as we ran through pockets of water; ankle high became knee-high, up to mid-thigh, waist, and eventually chest high. Back at the van on dry land, I fumbled for my phone, tucked away in my sports bra. I caught a whiff of myself - I smelled like a fishing dock.

New Notification: a text from the reporter at the Reno Gazette-Journal.

I wiped my still-sandy hands on my shorts, trying to get my hands clean enough to unlock my phone, to no avail. I tried again, wiping my hands on my t-shirt, soaked up to my bra line from the aforementioned wading. Finally, I ripped off a piece of paper towel to try to get my finger dry enough to give the fingerprint to unlock the phone. I finally got it unlocked and gasped out loud. Barry hates when I do this because when we were skydiving, a gasp was usually followed by an announcement of which one of our friends died. "What is it?" "The online RGJ article is on the front page of the Sunday Living section. In print." I stammered, trying to process.

I stood there, stunned. My shorts were soaked and dripping on the hardwood floor, little rivers running from my toes, down the slope of the van floor, pooling in the door well.

I grew up working in a Ford Econoline van, rolling up newspapers on Saturday nights into early Sunday morning. This is how I earned my allowance and how I paid for college before I started bartending. I would have seen this part of the paper at least 1,000 times before I got home and tucked myself into bed, exhausted from lifting heavy bundles of newspaper, and working the night shift.

Now here I was, on a day off between speaking engagements, standing in the van I've been living in full time for eight months, reading a text from a reporter who came to my talk at the Reno REI store, who hiked with us as well. Life has changed a lot since my days in a newspaper van, and I think younger me would be proud to know current me.

Read the online version of the story here.