Excuse me, are you Listening? 4-13

Dear Readers,
    Imagine my fear as I tried to put the final touches on pages 1 and 2 of the last edition and my computer system froze.  No disk space!!  I looked at my computer like it was on a crazy mission to ruin my day.  I called one of my good friends and she tried to calm me down about the whole situation.
    I could not believe that at 5:00 p.m., when it was time to send the paper over, that I could not.  I had just pledged to the readers that I would do the best editing job possible. 
    I was able to save changes made on pages 3-8, but pages 1 and 2!!!  Right in the middle of typing my “Excuse me are you listening?” column it just froze dead in the middle again. (My apologies to the African American festival and one of my favorite people, Gregory Eaton.  We have reprinted the information on page 1 of this edition.)
    I lifted my hands off the keyboard slowly and looked at the
computer in disbelief.  I was totally at a loss after working for 6 hours straight on the same problem.  I called another Mac expert to see what I could possibly do to save the paper.  I could not even backup my files because my computer was so full and would not allow me to save.  To make matters worse, someone stole my iBook laptop.  So if you know anyone who has
recently been sold a used, white G-3 iBook laptop, please call me up and let me know.  The CD draw sticks a lot and it has scratches on the door. 
     Needless to say, I was not having a good day.
     At 10:00 p.m., I finally relented and called my printer and another friend of mine who is a technological expert.  We tried to get the disk to save and could not.  It appeared as though it had something to do with all of the pictures that were in the edition.  I was not willing to give up the pictures for the Poetry in the Park story and I was not willing to give up on printing. 
     I am so glad that I have friends. She ended up staying with me until 1:00 a.m.  We were both tired and frazzled and spent two hours on the phone with the printer. 
     Luckily for me, I always send my files to print several days before the newspaper is scheduled to be delivered.  The next morning, frantic and tired, another employee at the print shop helped me.  I sent every picture over separately and verbally told him where each should go. 
     I still could not make any changes to the typographical errors that glared at me for the entire previous day but I was still able to get the newspaper printed and delivered in time.  My print shop even drove the newspaper to me and I was grateful and I was beat.  They provided
exceptional customer service.
     I learned that sometimes things will not go right no matter how hard you try.  I also learned that I needed to back up my system on a regular basis.  This situation made me reassess the value of taking care of my data. 
    I took my computer to the shop the following Monday after the delivery weekend and prayed that it would be all right.  I felt like I was taking my dog to the veterinarian.  It was a sick feeling not knowing whether or not my information would be saved.
    As I left the computer repair shop, I wondered if anything else
could go wrong and of course it did.  I put the key in my truck and it was dead as a doornail.  The battery died.  My husband took his lunch hour to power me up and told me to go to Interstate Battery on Waverly and Saginaw right away and have them put in a new battery.  Yes, I did have the children with me.
    On my way to Interstate, drivers were not being courteous and I was not happy.  I arrived at Interstate only to realize that the store had been closed for some time.  I believe since April.  I was not a happy camper.  I refuse to let that stop me and I went to have my book of poetry printed to send to copyright.  My laptop being stolen made me realize that I was not doing things in a timely manner.  As I waited for the book to be printed, I prayed that there would be enough juice to restart the truck.  My three children  somehow knew that if there was any day
that they needed to behave, this was the day.  They did a great job, too.  I got my few books and sent one off to the copyright office.  My truck started.  When I returned home, my computer was ready.  They told me that the hard drive was full and I needed to start backing up my files. I was happy. 
     I had time to reflect on my Wednesday-through-Monday roller coaster ride and remembered on the same day that my troubles began, I sat down to read the mainstream newspaper and found that my good friend, Mr. Robert H. Moore, Sr., had died.  It broke my heart and in this business, I have gotten to know a lot of people and the down side is that when people pass away and they have touched the newspaper in any way, it deeply affects me.
  I met Mr. Moore in August of 2004. He was really funny.  He wanted me to do a story on Capitol Lodge #8, Prince Hall Lodge, which is based in Lansing.  Mr. Moore was really serious about me covering the Annual Appreciation Banquet for the Masons.  His goal was to give Mr. Herschel Roper the most coverage as possible.  I personally was not really feeling
the whole thing, but Mr. Moore was persistent. 
   In August of 2004, we had a TNCP Client and Community Appreciation Dinner at Winston’s Barbecue and Banquet Hall. I invited him to come and enjoy the event.
   Mr. Moore and his beautiful wife, Eloise Moore, were there to help us show the community and our clients how much we appreciated them. 
   Anyone who knew Mr. Moore will always remember him for his infectious smile and his love for chewing gum.  He was always in a good mood and was a great sales person.  He talked to me about the Masons just enough for me to understand and I even have a copy of the proclamation that the Capitol Lodge #8 received on August 10, 2004.
   Others who knew him could tell you that he was a photographer, too.  At every event that he went to, he probably took pictures and made copies for everyone.  He was just that type of person.  I have shared a
picture of Mrs. and Mr. Moore and I at the TNCP Client and Community Appreciation Dinner.   Of course,  Mr. Moore was the life of the party, making sure that everyone got into a picture and or he was in the picture.  From what I saw, he lived life fully and smiled a lot. 
    You cannot imagine the sadness that gripped me on that day.  I was overcome with grief.  We have so many heroes in this community who have left us and our community just allows their memories to slip by the wayside.  I hear about really important people just in passing.  I have
been hearing about a Pastor Graves.  I guess someday, I will find out more about this great pastor who held everything together.  I surely miss Mr. Wilbur Howard and Robert M. Gordon, who both loved researching the history of African Americans in Michigan.   In our next edition, I will reprint a great story that Robert M. Gordon, wrote about the Underground Railroad in Michigan.  This is a story that encourages healing amongst people. 
  He wrote about courageous European Americans who helped the slaves escape to freedom.  These messages need to be heard again.
   These great men understood my vision shortly after I started the paper in February of 2002.  I cannot believe how much I have grown since then.  Johnny Cochran was a leader, too.  We all need leaders and Mr. Moore was definitely a leader. he will be greatly missed.   Just writing about him now almost brings me to tears.  My condolences to his lovely wife and his family.
     I am going to slow down a bit and take more time to enjoy life.  I think that my whole computer experience taught me that if you become so full and overworked sometimes you just quit working.  I love my job and my readers,  so I will take more stock in slowing down.  If you see me out and about, have no doubt that I am working or have just finished working … maybe I will just slow it down just a bit more for the sake of myself and my family.


Rina N. Risper