There was one day several weeks ago when I was particularly glad this month’s Advocate wasn’t arriving on your doorstep. You probably know which day I’m talking about.
O.J. was finding out some bleak news about his financial future, Darlie Routier was learning that her future involves plenty of steel and cement, and Bill Clinton was waiting – probably somewhat impatiently – to tell us his vision of our country’s future.
I don’t know about you and your family, but O.J.’s plight doesn’t have much of an impact on my daily life. And although I’ve been to Rowlett, the Routiers didn’t invite me over for dinner. (It’s probably just as well, I guess.) And all of the stuff going on in Washington seems pretty far away to me.
But still, it just didn’t seem as if an Advocate cover story about a neighborhood woman who dedicates much of her free time to beautifying our neighborhood would have received much attention that day.
Not that what Karen McCracken’s doing isn’t important. It’s just not, you know, “Important.”
Of course, you probably didn’t know that McCracken has donated more than $20,000 – the sum of her earnings from recycling companies grateful that she keeps those ubiquitous bins neat and orderly – to a neighborhood garden club.
Or that this garden club has used that $20,000 to buy and plant thousands of trees and shrubs on our street corners and medians.
And you probably didn’t know that McCracken and a friend spend a lot of time on their knees, painstakingly planting and nurturing these new trees and shrubs so that they grow strong and beautiful in our neighborhood.
Her volunteer efforts stand out among so many others for a simple reason: She is making our life and our neighborhood better, simply because she wants to.
Now that’s what I call “Important.”
Take A Bow, Channel 5
It’s a cardinal rule here at the Advocate: Everything we write about must have something to do with our neighborhood and its residents.
But as publisher, I have some say in setting the rules around here, and I’m going to break that rule, however briefly, with my column this month.
I’d like to be among the many people thanking Channel 5 for deciding not to air that made-for-TV movie about the former military cadets who confessed to killing a Mansfield teenager.
Unless you’ve been too engrossed with O.J. to pay attention to the rest of the world, you know what I’m talking about: It’s the sad story about the shattered lives of three young people and their families.
One night last month, prior to Channel 5’s courageous decision not to run the movie, a teaser showed what we could expect. I was startled to see how much the actors resemble the real-life participants in this soap opera.
And I couldn’t help but think, guilty or innocent and dead or alive, how painful it would be for the families and friends of those involved to relive the entire story in the breathless, dramatic interpretation of a few TV scriptwriters.
Make no mistake: Channel 5 cost itself some money by not airing the show, because as much as I hate to admit it, I would probably have tuned in.
But Channel 5’s general manager Doug Adams said it best:
“When you come right down to it, how does something make you feel as a human being,” Adams told the Morning News.
“How does it make you feel in your heart and your gut?… This could make a difference in the newscast ratings, but we’re not in this for a single night or a single ratings book.
“I grew up here, I live here. This is my community. A short-term impact in the ratings doesn’t matter in comparison to that.”
When I read that quote, I couldn’t help but think: Here’s a guy who would have a great future here at the Advocate if he ever decides to get out of the TV business.