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Old Friends, Days Treasured —Cagle

January 2007
THERE IS something sad about the end of the year, a feeling of loss, even when it’s just night turning into day.

Like chapters in a book, the year tells part of our entire life story, and I’m sure many of us are guilty of turning the page without giving it much thought at all. But, as Barry Manilow used to sing on Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, “Don’t look so sad, it’s not so bad, you know. It’s just another night, that’s all it is.”

In those 365 days of 2006, a boatload of commercial printing companies changed hands. Thousands of good, hard-working people lost their jobs when plants reduced capacity, were sold or closed down altogether. And many good, hard-working people lost their lives, leaving behind multitudes of friends and loved ones. So while you may wish to have a few more color units and another $10 million in annual volume…remember that not all blessings can be found in the finance ledger.

And now, a bit of Auld Lang Syne and marking the end of an era with peanut butter cookies.

Reader Lis Trouten grew up in the printing world. She remembers, as a youngster, peering in from the doorway of the Turtle Mountain Star’s pressroom in Rolla, ND. Hot lead was a no-no for little girls, so she watched her father work from a safe distance.

As an adult and a purchaser of printing, Lis is taken by the very familiar sights and sounds of her local provider, Temp’s Litho, a mile from her Twin Cities home. Once inside the door, Lis allows her senses to become bombarded, beginning with a deep breath.

“It smells like a print shop ought to smell,” she wrote recently. “And by ‘like a print shop ought to smell’ I mean, of course, that the pervasive odor of the ink evokes a pleasant melancholy, the faint sound of old memories—wheels turning, metal plates slapping, the ‘ker-chunk’ of the machinery providing solitude because it limits conversation to only what is necessary. And what has to be said is called out above the noise in as few words as possible.”

Temp’s Litho has all the trimmings of a mom-and-pop operation. Lis has been taking jobs there for more than 20 years, knows the employees by name, and has been to Temp’s on days when it was supposed to be closed. The self-serve photocopier there also features self-serve payment, with a slotted coin and bill box nearby.
 

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