October 24th, 2020

BACK IN THE SADDLE


By Lethbridge Herald on October 17, 2020.

LEAVE IT TO BEEBER
Al Beeber
Lethbridge Herald
abeeber@lethbridgeherald.com
I’m back! After a six-month hiatus due to the COVID crisis, I’m back at my desk and absolutely thrilled to be here.
Poetically, my first day on the job was Thanksgiving and I truly could not think of anything more to be thankful of than being back here.
I’m one of those millions of Canadians who found myself temporarily, or sadly in some cases, permanently off work due to the pandemic which has changed our world as we know it so drastically, so painfully and so mercilessly.
I didn’t know what awaited me after working my final shift on Good Friday. So when publisher Brian Hancock called recently to let me know I was coming back, the excitement and relief were overwhelming.
After developing some pretty impressive cooking and baking skills these last six months, my first thought was I should bake him and the staff some butter tarts.
But I need to get my recipe down first lest anyone think my gift is an insult.
I can’t tell Herald management how appreciative I am to be here; I simply don’t have the words and I’ve never been at a loss for them.
This newspaper has been part of my life since the day I was born when I was partially named after a Herald paper carrier in Warner, who made an indelible impression on my parents.
Thank you, Cameron, if you’re still alive and reading the paper for making such an impact.
When my family moved to Cardston in December of 1965 where my dad was transferred by Calgary Power, The Herald became a staple of our lives. We read it every day and it helped me learn to read. I’d started at 4 when I was put into kindergarten early, and while my classmates in Mrs. Duce’s class at Leeside Elementary were slowly following the exploits of Dick, Jane and Spot, I was trying to read The Herald.
In Raymond, I helped my friends Tom Brooks and Fred Byrgesen deliver the paper on Saturdays just as an excuse to hang out.
Those Saturday afternoons also enhanced my memory skills as I learned the house addresses on their routes.
Now I wish I could have remembered where I put my office computer glasses — which I should have just left in my desk — before getting new ones done quickly after I got the good news.
I did find the old pair accidentally later — in a sock drawer I swear I’d searched at least three times.
The publisher’s call was the one bright spot in a disastrous year; in August I lost my only sibling, who died suddenly in Wainwright of a pulmonary embolism at the age of 65. He and I had become extremely close this year and the last time I talked to him, I’d asked for his approval of my plan to fulfill our dad’s wish for his ashes. Four days later, I essentially bid farewell to both of them in a secluded spot which I know dad would have loved in the same area where he said goodbye to his parents many years ago.
I’ve learned a lot about myself in these recent months and also about humanity, particularly the lack of it in people who have unfairly attacked CERB.
CERB is the reason many Canadians managed to keep a roof over their heads and put food on their family’s dinner table during the COVID crisis. It wasn’t free money for people who don’t want to work, as I’ve read so often and as I and many others can attest.
CERB was a lifeboat that helped Canadians weather stormy seas in a financial maelstrom. Being off work is humiliating enough without enduring those accusations. How many sleepless nights have CERB critics endured this year because of worrying about the future?
Ask anyone impacted by COVID and they can perhaps count how many nights they have slept without worry.
Nobody is immune from the devastation of COVID and I’m truly thankful for the help provided us by our federal government during this crisis.
And again, I’m so grateful to be back here talking to you.
Follow albeebHerald on Twitter.

 

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