Our story so far: People in town are talking about our project, to turn a 126-year-old Methodist church into our home.
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News of our project reached the ears of an alert reporter at a nearby weekly newspaper, and he arranged a visit to our work site, where the interior of the church was mostly demolished.
He arrived one cold, bright morning, and we dodged the drywallers’ scaffolding in the sanctuary to show him around. I admired his wiry beard, and he mentioned he’d been in the church more than once covering church dinners and news of the local food bank, which operated out of our basement for a time.
“What do people in town think of your plans?” he asked me.
“Well, everyone who’s talked to us has told us how happy they are we are fixing it up,” I said. “But I think people who might be unhappy probably aren’t telling us about it. Why? Have you heard otherwise?”
“No, no, I just heard you had big plans to improve the place.”
It was odd being interviewed, and I found myself wondering how people felt when I interviewed them twenty-some years before when I was a newspaper reporter, but the interview was mostly painless, fun even. As with our other visitors, we regaled him with our plans until his eyes started darting around, looking for an exit. He took a few photos, and beat a hasty retreat—a weekly newspaper reporter is a busy person, I knew, and other news was surely calling to him.
When the story came out, Tyler was disappointed we hadn’t made the front page (I was a little relieved), but he purchased five copies of the newspaper to bring home. I was happy to see the reporter included nice comments from the former pastor and one of the planning commissioners who happened to live nearby.
The building needed a lot of expensive repairs, and the dwindling congregation could not afford them. “This is the best of all outcomes,” the former pastor told the newspaper reporter.
I derived great satisfaction from cutting the story out of the newspaper to mail to my grandmother, with whom I had been a pen pal for the better part of three decades. She was only a month shy of turning 103, and I found it apropos to share news with her about a century-old structure that was getting some love.
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Tomorrow: Chapter 15 opens with a mantra: Safety first. Read it here.