AS I LOOK back over the years, friendships have meant a lot to me. I learn from people, I gain encouragement, and when a level of trust is reached, I can share my sorrows and victories. 

By the way, when you share a sorrow it is cut in half and when you share a joy, it is doubled. 

I MET BUS Hamilton over 20 years ago when he operated a small marina on an oxbow on the Caloosahatchee River, 15 miles east of Fort Myers, Florida. In the summer we kept our boat there for a couple of years. It was a 1987 49-foot Gulfstar, but as boats go, they always need repairs and updates. Bus had a list of competent repair people, such as diesel mechanics, shaft and prop people, fiberglass repair and brightwork finishing. I asked him how he got this list and he said “16 years of screening!” 

I have used that approach for our newspaper businesses as well as our home. I collected a list of competent people who can solve various repair issues that give a lot of peace of mind. 

A wind storm years back sent a huge cottonwood tree limb crashing on to our front porch and our daughter’s car, which was in the driveway. The list gave us immediate help to prevent rain damage and get rebuilding underway. 

I talked to Bus last week and we reminisced about life’s experiences. He shared another gem. It goes like this, “The people you connect with in life make all the difference.” 

FREEDOM IS NEVER more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it along to our children in our bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”  Ronald Reagan 

I COLLECT ITEMS from other newspapers, which give me a chuckle. The following was a column by Rich Glennie from the McLeod County Chronicle, Glencoe, Minnesota, in October 2003. 

Accept that some days you’re the pigeon, and some days you’re the statue.

Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them. 

Drive carefully. It’s not only cars that can be recalled by their maker. 

If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.

It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others. 

Never put both feet in your mouth at the same time because then you don’t have a leg to stand on. 

If ignorance is bliss, why aren’t more people happy? Some mistakes are too much fun to only make once. 

VALENTINE’S DAY, FEB. 14, got its beginning from a widely recognized third century Roman Saint San Valentino. Tradition has it associated with courtly love. The following are some Scripture references about love and relationships: 

1 Corinthians 13:4-5: Love is patient, love is kind, It does not envy. It does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

Proverbs 3:3-4: Let love and faithfulness never leave you; find them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. 

Ephesians 4:2: Be completely humble and gentle; be patient bearing with one another in love.

1 Corinthians 16:14: Do everything in love.

CONGRATULATIONS TO HEIDI Briski Gainor, wife of our Pine City, Minnesota editor, who was invited to the Super Bowl by the NFL. She joined 7,499 other health care workers from around the country.


Gene Johnson is publisher emeritus of Press Publications.

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