I’ve talked with many people about shoes lately, or more accurately, they have talked about them with me. Specifically, they’ve warned me about big shoes, and how hard they can be to fill.
I know exactly what they are talking about, of course. It seems almost a crazy task, stepping in as editor of The Daily News in the shadow of a giant, one who wore impressively big footwear.
But I take comfort in his big shoes as well, because big shoes leave big prints, and this particular giant walked so far in them, he left a plain trail to see, one I will follow, gratefully, for a long time.
So onwards we go.
I’ve lived in Kamloops for more than 20 years now, and gladly call it my home, although that was not always the case. In January 1992, I despised the city. The grey dusty streets with their grey dusty trees seemed as uninviting as the layer of cold cloud sealing the valley and the drifting snow. I saw my first tumbleweed then, tumbling down Victoria Street, and thought to myself, I must be living a joke. But winter turned to spring. I remember one early April evening as the sun’s rays cut low from the west, illuminating a torrent of rain pouring from a dark cloud, causing a full rainbow to arc over Valleyview. It was as a beautiful and dramatic a city landscape as I can picture. Soon after, the sage hills came alive in subtle shades of green, with dainty yellow bells and elusive little purple shooting stars busting from the grassland crust. Then spring became summer and then fall, each with their own graces.
And the place grew on me.
So did the people; Kamloops is a people town. It is open and cordial. We let others into the flow of traffic ahead of us here, and stop for dogs and deer (and sometimes bears) crossing our neighbourhood streets. We don’t yell much, (although there are plenty of strong voices). We say hello to strangers. I’ve made good friends here, and other friends I’ve made in other places visit, because I think they know we’ve got a good thing. My wife and I got married here, and both my daughters were born at Royal Inland Hospital, under the watchful eyes of my family’s doctor, a genuine and caring man who too has lived here for many years and is, I’m sure, also a product of this place.
Kamloops is a good city and it makes great people, who go on to make Kamloops even better in a perpetual spiral that, for 20 years at least has never failed to keep spinning. It is a city with an inherent knack for creating giants, and Kamloops has seen many, across all walks.
It is a privilege for me to be the editor, as much as it is a responsibility. I appreciate what it means to be in the small office in the southwest corner of the old Hudson’s Bay building that not long ago belonged to someone a little bit larger than life.
I suspect much of what made my predecessor great came from his love of Kamloops. I hope the fact Kamloops is long in my blood now will give me some of the stuff I need to do this job the way it needs to be done, the way this community deserves. I look forward to the days ahead, to the challenges and opportunities, and to listening to the strong voices of those who yearn for a community that joins people together. A city that wants to make giants.