In September of this year, I received an email from a former local business owner who had recently subscribed to the paper. They were kind enough to provide some positive feedback as well as some suggestions for future editions. During this year of chaos, I find myself reverting back often to their words of wisdom when I'm writing. The following is a passage from their letter.
"I will say this to you, keep doing what you are doing, Cheviot needs people like you. Do not let anything deter you from addressing issues that people tend to "lay off of" or "stay away from that" in your writing. I am sorry we could not continue on (with their business), but as my dear Mom used to say, "Nothing is forever."
I am yet to meet this individual in person, but I suspect they sensed something while reading their paper; that perhaps, I was managing the clock rather than taking my shot at times. That being objective while straddling a line in the sand isn’t nearly as risky as walking the line of repercussions from the heights of a tightrope.
Their words of wisdom hang slightly above my writing desk in the corner of my office. Depending on the topic, an article that takes about an hour of actual writing requires five to six hours of meal preparation. The onions are diced, the meat needs tenderized, and the garlic is minced for just the right amount of flavor. All of this is done before I turn on the burners and begin hammering away at my keyboard. It’s when this process isn’t followed, when my labor of love, becomes a labor of necessity, what comes out of the oven just doesn’t taste quite right. It’s for that reason I chose to display this person’s words where I did. They hang above me as a reminder on those late nights with only an early alarm clock waiting for me the following day. When those thoughts of ‘ok, that will do. That’s good enough,’ begin to settle in, I feel those words glaring down on me, piercing through the standard I set for this paper from the onset. Without even needing to peek up, I begrudgingly say to myself, “alright fine, just shut up, would you?” It’s important to have something that keeps you honest. In a world of loud noises, honesty, and truth are rare commodities highly sought after. Unfortunately, just not always well regarded.
I have written this piece a total of six times now, with every version worthy of being printed. However, each time I attached the finished product to an email for the design team, something prevented me from clicking send. Something just didn’t taste quite right.
The first version was titled, “Dear Governor Mike DeWine.” Throughout the piece, I called attention to the underlying inconsistencies during this pandemic, that in my opinion, unfairly placed bar, and restaurant owners as a scapegoat, subsequently suffocating them with an excessive and unwarranted financial burden. It was a plea on their behalf. It was a mercy. Then cases began to spike. With the Gazette being a monthly printed edition, and the information changing nearly every day, this presented some potential problems that could arise printing an article 10 days after its conception. So, I decided to call an audible.
In another version, I took on Big-Tech companies, such as Facebook, and the issue of censorship. The title of that piece being, “Dear, Mark Zuckerberg.” Regardless of who I chose to address my editorial to, an annoying question kept pestering my brain like an unrelenting mosquito tortured by its thirst for blood on a warm night in the middle of July.
Questions, are created as unrelenting as the mosquito searching for answers. One can exist without the other, but if not bonded together, nothing transpires. The pendulum will not swing, and nothing beneficial is capable of blooming in its place. Furthermore, the only way a question can produce the correct answer, or an answer be a suitable response to a question, is when the two are correctly paired with its counterpart. This quintessential relationship respectfully mirrors the one of a cherry tree. With the correct pieces in place, things can begin to take shape, magically aligning themselves entirely on their own. The fruits of this partnership only exist when unison occurs. While prolonged division will only reap continued famine. This, my friends, is why a cherry is placed on the top of a job well done.
Important as these topics are, something else kept taunting my ability to define what was causing my inability to address the correct issue, condense my ideas, write it, and send the bloody thing to print and divorce it from my mind. It wasn’t until I reevaluated who the recipient of my editorial was intended for, that the correct message which needed conveyed presented itself. This paper is after all written for the people of Cheviot, and the Westside community. So, here it goes, fingers crossed.
My name is William Monnier. I’m a single father and I’ve been a Cheviot resident for the past 11 years. The current issue of the Gazette you’re reading marks number 17. After each copy is printed, bagged, sealed, and delivered to your doorstep, I normally string together a healthy portion of swear words for being so stupid to inflict this abuse upon myself month after month. My relationship with this publication is in some ways like the Godfather. As soon as I swear it off, something and more specifically, someone, pulls me back in.
The one thing that astonishes people the most about this publication seems to be the fact that I deliver all the local papers myself. I must say, as much as I dread that day it very well may be my favorite part of the job. Even though the grind of the delivery day beats and batters me to no end. Every month, however, I’m lassoed back in. Like clockwork, the moment I am pulling up to my last delivery trying to hold out just a little bit longer to hear the relief of the twelfth-round bell, it happens. It comes in the way of a text message, an email, and often, a greeting ear to ear smile as they open their door and I say, “I got your paper here.” However it’s expressed, doesn’t really matter. It’s a feeling I’m unable to articulate into words but it’s the sole reason the past 17 months of these 11 years have me considering these same streets and sidewalks an extended part of my family, rather than just another place to live. It’s for this reason that I’m writing you today. I’m concerned. This is a plea on my behalf. This is a mercy.
Earlier this week a letter to the editor was published on our website. The writer who submitted the op-ed took a very strong stance in opposition to Governor DeWine. I knew the piece would receive mixed reactions, but I hoped a constructive discussion would conjure out of the screaming rubble. Perhaps that was a bit naive in the age of the internet, but some of the comments directed at this particular post have both puzzled and disappointed me. The comment was this, “unfollowed.”
It’s important to keep in mind that this article was a letter to the editor, which in no way, shape or form reflects the opinion of the Cheviot Gazette. So, not only did I find the comment on its face to be illogical, but several individuals who have followed this publication from the beginning showed their own displeasure with the article, applauding the comment. These Individuals who have messaged the Gazette countless times with questions and concerns happening in the city, to which answers were provided for them and they were very pleased that we took the time to follow up.
Throughout history, this country that I adore has brought me everything from tears to blind rage. Throughout that history, we have licked our wounds, mended our differences, and kicked some butt along the way. This country that I adore makes the impossible, possible.
This isn’t ignoring the fact that yes, we do in fact have blood on our hands. We do have things to learn. We do have a long way to go in any number of issues and hypocrisies. We do and we can, and we will, by approaching and respecting each other as Americans, as Westsiders, as Human beings. But it’s the lack of this basic concept that’s eroding the good in what makes each of us Americans. If we don’t change the course soon, we’ll be left with only the blood on our hands.
Last month, I was invited by a friend to attend senior bingo at the Fieldhouse. During this year of chaos and isolation where ugliness has triumphed where goodness should have risen, it was a much-needed pump of the brakes from the last grueling 8 months. It's interesting to me how much toddlers and seniors model each other. The sheer joy they find in the simplest of things. Whether that be a neighbor’s cat making its rounds about the cul-de-sac or a glimpse at the Big Dipper on a clear night, they might be the only ones actually living. They may be on opposite ends of the life spectrum, but they may be the only ones appreciating the most in everything life is offering them.
I hope all of you continue to fight the injustices in this world, both nationally and locally. But it’s important while doing so to remember, a balanced bird uses both wings. I hope you all continue to support the objective reporting and variety of all opinions and the continued discussion resulting from those opinions. Bad ideas need to be met with better ideas, not a mob of hate.
Be well, everyone, and for God's sake, give your family a hug.