Sunday, January 11, 2009

Dueling Headlines

I'm going to miss newspapers when they're gone. Somehow scanning the morning headlines with my feet on a footstool, my dog beside me and a cup of coffee in hand doesn't quite translate to scanning a computer screen.

It will also deprive me of one of my favorite pursuits. Seeing how two different papers report the same story. There may be hope, however, even if my reading stack is reduced to a pile of one. In this morning's paper there were two stories side by side. One was illustrated with a photo of a distraught woman standing in what was left of her tavern, mud and debris from a mud slide piled as high as the tops of the bar stools. The headline read Dog, ax-wielding son save woman.

The story tells of how she was wakened by a phone call suggesting she take a look out her window. Water was up to the sill and beginning to creep through cracks. Her son, who lived nearby, hacked a hole in a fence freeing the flow so she could struggle to the slightly higher ground of her tavern. Three times her dog stopped to help her get up after falling into the muck.

The son himself fell four times and had to be helped back to his feet. Once in the tavern they realized it would be a short respite. A friend with an excavator came to the rescue, diverting enough water from around the tavern to allow them to escape.

The kicker of the story is she had flood insurance on her home but not her tavern and the damage was from a mud slide rather than directly from the flooding. The final blow came when she returned to survey the damage and found that a deer head that had belonged to her late husband had been stolen by looters.

The headline on the article right next to it read Flood damage isn't so bad.

Maybe you had to have been there.

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