Grim's Tales: Our many encounters with Laura
A moment of thanks for our loyal readers
I've been with this newspaper since Jan. 2, 2013, but I was an intern before then. I remember what I believe was my second summer as an intern doing a story on the Ride With Us Bus and getting photos of passengers going to and from hair appointments, pharmacy and grocery trips.
I met a lot of people then whom I didn't realize I would run into regularly from then on.
I specifically remember a photo of Sis Risnes. I think Marge Gardiner was there, and that was probably the first time I met Laura Mick.
Laura was such a proud supporter of our newspaper, and I believe no matter where I ran into her, she was excited to say hi and tell me about how she had every holiday promotion Christmas stocking that the Pine River Journal and later the Echo Journal newspapers gave out with holiday renewals.
Laura's son, Wyatt, bought her a subscription every year and she kept those stockings.
One year she ran into me at an event and promised to send a photo of the stockings. Sure enough, she had all of those stockings hung on her door with an issue of the Journal in them. We ran the photo and did a small story to go with it.
Laura seemed to keep us in mind as well. When she was getting a Christmas season visit from her daughter, her granddaughter, her great-granddaughter and possibly a great-great-granddaughter (I don't recall how many generations), she called and asked if we wanted to be there to photograph them all together, and we did.
I'm fairly certain I'd photographed her at one or more Tea at the Station events and other community activities.
In 2020, just before Christmas and COVID-19, we decided to give her a special gift when Wyatt showed up to buy her annual Christmas subscription.
We picked up a red stocking nearly three feet tall, and all of the Echo Journal crew signed it. A coworker with much better handwriting wrote Laura's name in puffy paint and we did our own attempt at screen printing the Echo Journal logo.
I convinced the boss to give them the subscription for free this time. Of course, they sent us a photo, and we happily published it.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, on July 27, 2020, when Laura celebrated her centennial birthday sitting outside a safe distance from visitors and waving at them as they passed her building, she invited us and we were glad to make an appearance, get photos and celebrate with her.
I saw Laura's obituary on Facebook on Feb. 1. She died Jan. 28 and I knew we needed to do something. She was such a sweet woman and a great supporter.
The fact of the matter is, with the passing of people like Laura, the proud supporters of local journalism, the industry is constantly changing.
It's no mystery why Laura ended up in the newspaper all the time. The same goes for Sis and Marge and Alma Christensen and countless other amazing people who still live in our communities (who, for superstition sake, I won't name in the same sentence).
These were people who made names for themselves in our communities through their very special identities.
These were some of the sweetest people I've had the pleasure of meeting in my career, and some of the most fascinating people anyone could ever get to know, and my job allowed me to do that, at least to some small degree.
So, this is my way of saying thank you to all of the people who have supported our work over the years through little comments in public, submitting tips and news releases for us, rooting for us, saying hello when you see us and even simply buying a subscription.
Of course I want to say a very special thank you to Laura, for just being Laura.
Travis Grimler is a staff writer for the Pineandlakes Echo Journal weekly newspaper in Pequot Lakes/Pine River. He may be reached at 218-855-5853 or email@example.com.