Thursday, April 18, 2013

Thinking of West


West, Texas, is over 1,800 miles from Boston, Massachusetts, but the small central Texas town and the large East Coast city have been drawn together by tragedy.

West (which is not in West Texas) is on I-35 between Dallas and Austin, between Dallas and Waco. It is in the northernmost town in the county where Waco is located. It is one of those small Texas cities that was settled by Eastern Europeans; in this case mostly Czechs. There's a travel stop on the highway called The Czech Stop. People often traveling between Dallas and Austin or San Antonio often leave laden with kolaches.

They have a small weekly newspaper, the West News. Twelve years ago, when I ran my own small weekly newspaper, that was where I published it. I would drive down the interstate, drop off the original pages, and go to a Czech restaurant on Main Street and have lunch. By the time I was done the bundles of paper would be ready to be picked up.

I closed up my newspaper Labor Day 2001; the money just wasn't there. The last check I wrote to pay the West paper to print my paper bounced (which pretty much confirmed the paper's financial unprofitability) but I rustled some a few last dollars and drove down there one last time and made it good. Business failures can be messy things, and this was no exception, but I was happy that, in at least one example I made someone unhappy.

I'm sorry to hear what happened last night. Strange how two places so dissimilar can be united in tragedy.

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