I was reading our stories prior to publishing this month’s Advocate, and I have to tell you, this is an eye-popping lineup:

  • How to train your cat to know it’s dinnertime.
  • How a group of neighbors banded together to pay for “road humps” on a busy street, getting to know each other in the process.
  • What to do if your kid learns to read at a slower pace than the kid next door.
  • The happy story about a couple of neighborhood residents who do ceramics in their backyard studio.
  • An ode to a neighborhood resident’s childhood memories of White Rock Lake.
  • Plans for the upcoming fund-raising auction for the neighborhood service club, with proceeds benefiting neighborhood groups.
  • Ways to avoid the perils of renovating your own home, as told by neighbors who didn’t listen to sage advice the first time.

I’m sure you noticed there’s not a single mention of Whitewater, the Texas lottery, Congressional gridlock or John Wiley Price in the whole list.

So I have to ask myself this question: Are we at the Advocate forgetting to tell you about something important?

After three years of presiding over this odd collection of reminiscences, profiles, news stories, features and statistics, I can only tell you this: I can’t wait to read the same mix of stories again next month.

I’m not sure what it is about the Advocate that appeals to me most – that I enjoy what I’m doing, that the people we write about enjoy what they’re doing, or that more and more of you seem to be enjoying what we do for you each month.

As we begin our fourth year of publication this month, it’s hard to explain exactly how we manage to keep sticking candles in the birthday cake.

Very little of the news we cover makes much of a difference in the big scheme of things. In fact, very little of the news we write about would see the light of day if we didn’t print it.

And perhaps that is the secret to our success, so far: In the end, it’s the little things that make a neighborhood work and make life more pleasant.

Arguing about who’s health-care plan is going to cause the biggest budget deficit or listening to the hourly updates about Whitewater doesn’t make a positive difference in my life, or anyone else’s, as far as I can tell.

In fact, if I didn’t read a single word or watch a single television report about either of these topics for the next 90 days, I’m willing to bet a Barbec’s beer biscuit that I’ll still be able to hold my own during the next “Nightline” recap.

The facts and figures and threats and innuendo that make up most of the daily news are nothing more than a real-life, day-time soap opera: Whether you tune in or not, it’s all pretty predictable and you’re not going to miss much of importance.

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