I walked over to the CVS today and got the latest copy of the “Woodstock Times”. It’s a sellout publication in Woodstock. How could it not be? It’s got the latest obituaries,
stories about community events (more fun than a soap opera)
a full color picture on page 1 (always)
and, a Letters to the Editor section.
I mean, what more can we all ask for? An edition once offered a full color photo of a statue of Buddha perched atop a bright blue sign saying:
WELCOME TO WOODSTOCK
We are all here because we are not all there.
I mean, how can I not buy a copy of the Woodstock Times this every week? It’s better than any tabloid anywhere. Donald Trump doesn’t even have a chance with this one.
If you live in Woodstock or visit Woodstock, you can buy a souvenir bumper sticker at Houst with the Buddha post on it. Buddha won’t be on the bumper sticker. But, that’s not the important part of the message anyway.
Then, when you return home to wherever in the world that may be, you can display this wonderful sign which reads: We are all Here Because We are Not all There. Personally, I can’t think of a better souvenir of Woodstock than that.
But, back to the Woodstock Times:
Because of the propensity of cotton tops in the area, obituaries are always popular. A couple of winters ago we were dropping at the rate of 1 per week. Every week Stuart Klein and I visited in Bread Alone for a few minutes and chatted about who died the week before.
Both Stuart and I were grateful to see spring arrive that year. First, we were grateful to see a few forsythia blooms just to see something besides winter. And, second, we were grateful to be alive and mentally together enough to know we were looking at forsythia blooms.
The weekly Letters section usually begins about page 14 or so with a letter from Howard Harris. Howie has been sending letters to the editor for years, decades maybe. For years, he wrote them in haiku.
Howie’s letter is traditionally the first one to go on the page. Howie taught me many years ago (when I first began writing letters about the pantry) that the letters are more or less sorted by when they come in. “Email your letter over on Friday, Thurman. That way you’ll have a good chance of reading it in the Woodstock Times.” Howie’s advice worked every week for years.
Brian quit printing my letters years ago but Howie still plugs along with his weekly letter. A couple of years ago or so, he dropped the haiku and now uses a straight 2-4 paragraph letter denouncing any local activities involving the local Zoning Board of Appeals and whatever else he’s thinking about. His letters have great interest and are probably read by 95% of the people buying the Woodstock Times weekly. Personally, I miss the haiku.
Standard letters written by Woodstockers include:
comments on the Arab Israeli conflict,
opinion pieces on all sides of whatever local fight is in progress,
thank you letters offering recognition about a job well or poorly done.
During election season, the Letter section is filled to capacity with letters for and against the various candidates and the issues they represent.
But, no matter what’s happening, I look forward to Sparrow’s message.
One thing the Woodstock Times does not have is a list of breakins, brawls, speeding tickets. If we want to read about that stuff, we have to buy the Daily Freeman. While it’s nice that the Woodstock Times doesn’t waste space on sleaze, it gives the reader the feeling that nothing ever goes wrong around here. This is definitely not the case. We have as many vandals around here as any other town but we just don’t mention them.
An important part of the paper is the weekly listing of meetings which usually appears at the top of page 3. These meetings are important. Whenever a decision is brewing, interested parties and protestors need to know exactly where and when the meeting will be held. It will never do to show up at the wrong time or place (which I did once).
Town Board Meetings are big sellers with a list of commenters who sign up a few minutes before the meeting so they can have a 2-minute “say” about anything they want in the “Public be Heard” segment of the meeting. Always popular in this segment is comment about any project that is just beginning, is ongoing, or is finished.
The Woodstock Times is delivered to Woodstock stores every Thursday afternoon after 2:00. Apart from the first section featuring news, letters, meetings, obituaries, the second section is a real seller. That’s the Almanac. Everything that’s happening around here, both large and small, appears in the Almanac.
My favorite section in the whole Woodstock Times is the cartoon by Swami Salami. Swami Salami’s cartoon is displayed, usually, in the upper left hand corner of page 15. My week is just not complete without seeing Michael Esposito’s message.
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