Pat Kelly, the Invisible Man

A Little Perspective column by Pat Kelly, March 31 Boundary Creek Times.

I must have bought some bad light bulbs down here in Oregon. Incandescent bulbs they were, 60 watts. I can use the past tense because every one of them has already burnt out.

They must have been part of Edisons’ original production run because the filaments were so fragile that the other day when I bumped the desk lamp while reaching to turn it off, the vibration caused the wires inside to arc and right away I found that the on/off switch had become irrelevant. I should have kept the packaging from that batch of light bulbs so I would know what brand to avoid when in the store later today.

I think I have gone invisible, though, so it probably doesn’t matter either way if there is light. Moving from the Boundary Country to a city of 80,000 is a shift in reality. When I lived in the Boundary, especially the last seven years on the job as the reporter, I was very visible. It seemed like everyone knew my name.

I remember running out of gas early last spring out on the highway by Stewart Brothers in Midway. I started walking back to town, but got no further than a hundred metres from the car before Melissa Bugeaud pull a U-turn and gave me a lift. I probably could have saved gas and hitchhiked all the time.

But not many people know who I am down here. Just my sister and mom—and mom isn’t too sure on some days. So walking down the street I feel kind of invisible.

I guess this is my opportunity to reinvent myself. I could start dressing up in either one of the two suits that Special K had me buy a few years back. Take on a whole new persona. Or I could go with the old guy Oregonian look—stubble shave on top with a well-trimmed beard down below.

***

Being the reporter at the Times was (most of the time) the best job I ever had. I got to go to all of the parties, take pictures and write a story—and I never had to stay to wash the dishes.

So I got excited when I first heard that Andrew Tripp had decided to move on. I started imagining that I might find some way to organize things here so I could return to claim my old job. But things don’t always work quite the way we’d like them to in our imaginations. For the time being I am needed here in Oregon and can’t see a way back home to Canada.

But I still read the Boundary Creek Times each week from front to back. I am really happy to see folks stepping up to help provide content for the paper until the new reporter comes on stream. Recent issues of the Times saw submissions by Les Goddard, the BCSS Spirit Club, Al Donnelly with his Blasts From the Past column, 4-H reporter Olivia Schneider, Vern Rexin sent in a letter and Grand Forks Gazette reporter Craig Lindsay has kicked in too. These contributions have helped fill the gap as well as making sure their message is shared.

I believe a local paper can play a vital role in the community because the ink that hits the pages on a small town weekly paper is, in some measure, the blood that has pumped through the heart of that community.

So keep up the good work Boundary. And remember—you (unlike me) are probably visible, so keep smiling.