This week, Notes from the River celebrates its Second Anniversary!
And in celebration, we here at the Notes from the River Crack Research Staff decided to give our regular feature writer some much-needed time off. So we’re writing this week’s column.
However, since we had such a hard time coming up with any interesting subjects, we decided just to interview our beloved boss and Notes writer, Scott Hays.
Staff: Two whole years! Where does the time go? We’ve come such a long way! I can still remember this column way back when it was just a mere editorial page feature in the Mahomet Citizen.
SH: Actually, that would be two weeks ago.
Staff: Okay then. Well, let’s share with the readers some personal insights, a little of the man behind Notes from the River. Where were you born? What in your background led you to write about the Sangamon River?
SH: I was raised in a swamp, drinking muddy water, sleeping in hollow logs, that sort of thing. So the Sangamon River was sort of a natural for me.
Staff: That’s odd, because from your columns, one might infer that you were a typical suburban kid raised in a three bedroom ranch in sunny Jacksonville, Florida, drinking Kool Aid and sleeping in your Star Trek pajamas. You know, that sort of thing.
SH: Well, you certainly seem to infer a lot from my columns. And I certainly can’t remember mentioning my Star Trek pajamas! And what, you’ve never heard of creative license? Besides, what’s the better story? Or did you miss the point of The Life of Pi?
Staff: Moving right along. It’s been two years. In all this time, you must have a favorite column.
SH: I certainly do, it would have to be that Pulitzer-Prize winning expose I wrote about prominent Mahomet citizen <censored>, being caught secretly dumping hazardous <censored> into the Sangamon <censored>.
Staff: Funny, we don’t ever remember reading a column like that in the Citizen.
SH: Really? You certain? Hmmm. Well I guess I’ll just have to take that up with the editor…
Staff: Okay, well then. Moving on to more serious subjects. Based on the content of your columns, one might question whether you’re paddling the River with both oars in the water, if you catch our drift.
SH: What? I’m not following you. I’m not too good at metaphor.
Staff: Let me give you some examples, in the past two years, you’ve engaged in time travel, had a casual chat with a ghost, and discussed property rights with a Great Blue Heron. You’ve had an interview with rubber ducks, you’ve admitted to having a detailed conversation with the walls in an old house and pretended to read from the journal of an ex-President. Do you deny it?
SH: Well, no, technically I…you know, I mean…yes, I…
Staff: Honestly, we here at the crack research staff office have begun to question your grasp on reality.
SH: Well it’s true! It all happened. Every word. I swear! At least I swear that I wrote it…
Staff: That’s our point. Now as much as we hate to do this, we feel the time has come for you to move along; that you’ve failed to adhere to the high ethical, moral and factual standards of a Mahomet Citizen columnist. So, from here on, the staff will be taking over writing responsibilities for Notes from the River. We think we can handle it.
SH: You ingrates could never meet the demands of writing 800 words on paper once every two weeks! Besides I question your very existence! Last I checked, I didn’t even have a crack research staff! So just who do you think you are anyway?
Staff: Now don’t go all existential on us. That’s just like you, to begin to make us question who we are or whether we’re just some elaborate hoax you made up! …or ‘creative license’ as you call it.
SH: Well, I’m just saying that we should all ask ourselves this fundamental question: who are we anyway? And are we absolutely certain we’re not just the creation of some column writer’s deranged imagination? Here, maybe you should try this bucket of Sangamon River water…
Staff: Yikes! What’s going on? We’re MELTING…melting..melting…
SH: Oh well, so much for my time off I guess.
So I’ll just have to just forge ahead and keep writing about the Sangamon River without a crack research staff and continuing to ask fundamental questions, such as: “who were those guys anyway?”
And I would like to add a hearty thanks to everyone I’ve interviewed and those who have shared their stories and their lives with me in the past two years. And also a hearty thanks to the Mahomet Citizen and Editor Amelia Benner.
It’s been fun, and as long as there’s one reader out there enjoying it (hi, Mom!), I’ll keep writing.
Appeared as Notes from the River, Mahomet Citizen, July 11, 2013, by Scott Hays