You get older, you go to more funerals. Or, at least, you mark the passing of more people you have known.
I went to Bill Hybsch's funeral last week. In a 40-year career at this newspaper, Bill met and dealt with a lot of people, although he never had a byline.
The first half of his career was spent in a department that no longer exists. It was the "stereotype" process, which made an exact impression of a full page of type and photographic half-tones and turned it into one solid element that could then be turned into a printing press plate.
These days, a stereotype is a bad thing, a pre-judging of an individual or group. (Which reminds me of the title of my next book: Never judge a schnook by his lover.) But back in the day, stereotyping was a good thing, allowing thousands of exact impressions to be made from a single typesetting, some of it having been put together by hand.
Bill Hybsch was good at what he did. And when he became our human resources director, he surprised a lot of people who had stereotyped him as a blue-collar guy ill-suited to a white-collar job.
Bill had a big family and as I sat and watched his children and grandchildren mourn his passing, it occurred to me that Bill left quite a legacy, each one of his family taking a bit of Bill with them but certainly none of them an exact copy.
I didn't know Kurt Spiers, but I loved his obituary in the paper last week.
"He was a friend to all who knew him. All he needed was his house and woodstove, where he enjoyed life with his two cats Butch and Precious and a 30-pack in the fridge. He was a simple man who enjoyed the simple way of life."
He sounds like the kind of guy who would not take kindly to the introduction of a lie detector test at the big Winnipesaukee fishing derby.
It just seems to me cruel and unusual punishment to expect a fisherman to refrain from a tall tale or two about the one that got away, or even the one that got taken. Anyway, if he or she is any kind of fisherman, no lie detector is going to trap them.
Speaking of cruel and unusual, that's what the folks at the Manchester Salvation Army were to me at their third annual Camp for Kids breakfast last Friday morning.
They were nice enough to honor the newspaper with their Singer Family Kids Champion Award. Great event, great turnout. But asking me to show up at the Derryfield Country Club at 7:30 a.m. with no golf involved was pretty painful. But hearing from the kids who benefit from the Army's summer programs made up for it.
Write to Joe McQuaid at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @deucecrew.