by Winona Post Editor-in-chief Sarah Squires
How beautiful on the mountain are the feet of him who bring good news!
- Isaiah 52:7
That little slice of the passage in Isaiah might just be one of my favorites — because it’s true. No, no, I don’t particularly think that my feet are anything to sing about, but it does bring me great joy to be able to bring you all the good news happening in our region. While we realize that in order to keep our readers abreast of everything they need to know about to be engaged citizens we often have to dish up the good with the bad, we try to keep sight of the good, even when we’re sharing the less-than-happy with the 24,000 households we serve. That’s why we include family hallmarks like four-generation photos, births, and our many proud moments from area schools. That’s why we carry our Matter of Faith columns, allowing you all to share your spiritual messages and journeys with our readers. It’s why at our news meetings you can often hear me ask reporters about what happy stories are in their folders. We want to sing your heartfelt stories on the bluff tops, we want to share the triumphs of your families and the many successful organizations and businesses in our region. Lucky for all of us, there are plenty of stories to be proud of.
When I first came to Winona almost 12 years ago, I was a reporter trying to get to know the friendly faces of her beats. I brainstormed about how I could speed things along — it’s hard to be an authority about an area you just met, and so all my stories took a bit longer, with me poring over files at the Winona County History Center Archives, flipping through old Winona Post issues, reading everything I could about every topic I covered. I realized that I needed to do a bit more people research — I needed to hit the streets more and talk to you all about what stories and topics you found important. So I went to every event I could squeeze into my schedule. And I got a paper route.
Downtown West was all mine, and suddenly I was on the street, delivering the very newspaper I was writing. I’d march into the businesses on my route and hand them the paper personally, chirp “Happy reading” to anyone who I found along the way. I beamed when they praised the Post — and this was back before my photo ran with a column every week, so I can only assume they didn’t know I was an undercover newspaper delivery girl.
It wasn’t long after that I had my first back surgery, and doctor’s orders kept me from carrying anything or walking too long. By then I was branching out, too, discovering all the gems that live beyond the first bluffs along the Mississippi, outside Winona. I discovered that though the doctor said I couldn’t keep my walking route, I could be a substitute for motor routes. They pay better, and you get to ride around in the little-known bluffs and valleys with a pal, delivering papers the way that rural mail carriers do — into the little red tubes that sit beside the mailboxes of our out-of-town readers.
My husband and I did lots of these routes and discovered so many hidden treasures along the way. We found Santa’s house out near Trempealeau, we found a supper club or two we had no idea existed, and we found many, many beautiful sunsets along the way. We always ended our paper-delivery journeys with a nice meal out on the town (often at those new-found supper clubs that quickly became our favorites), and it was fun to see all the people who come out to grab their Winona Posts as soon as they arrive. Some of them would leave us little gifts in our tubes — a chocolate bar or can of soda or trinket. It reminded me of the way my grandma and grandpa would spend every Sunday for many years — on a drive out along the coast or in the country, admiring different houses, the changing colors of autumn, the different neighborhoods. You guys could have been getting paid for that the whole time!
Well, now you can too! We have some routes open, and especially need a few people who would be interested in adding their name to our substitution list. That way, you work when you want to, when you need a little extra cash for something special, or when you’re in the mood for a little weekend or Wednesday sightseeing (I recommend following it up with a nice dinner somewhere special). Just call us at the Winona Post and ask for our circulation department, and let them know you’re interested.
Your feet, too, can be beautiful. It’s not about the polish, it’s about what you’re carrying.