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Columbia Missourian

Duality of affection for the Missourian

September 11, 2008 | 8:09 p.m. CDT

Two people with completely different attachments to the Missourian — one of a lifetime, the other of a moment — see something special in this not-so-old publication.

Dear Reader:

Meet Mary Ruth Hyde.

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Mrs. Hyde has subscribed to the Missourian since 1957 when, after several years away from Missouri, she moved back to the town and to the home where her husband was raised.

That's a year more than half of the life of this newspaper.

She's not exactly sure when her husband's parents moved to Columbia. It could have been 1909 or 1910. E. Clarendon Hyde was born in 1915. He grew up with the Missourian.

Mrs. Hyde called the other day to inquire about a story. I couldn't find it, but it gave me a chance to visit. I asked her why, for five decades, she stuck with the Missourian:

"It described our being," she said. "It kept us in touch."

What does she want from the newspaper today? "I'm expecting you to continue as you have these many years."

Meet Richard Holmes. He doesn't live in Columbia and never went to the journalism school here.

He's a dentist from Charlotte, N.C.

Holmes called Thursday morning to buy a subscription, even though he says he doesn't actually want the print edition. He can read what he needs online.

He had read stories about the struggles by the Missourian board of directors to improve the Missourian's financial fortunes. So he wanted to help.

"I just wanted to do my bit to help," Holmes said.

He's tired of the scatter-speak of text messages. He knows it takes training to collect, assemble and make sense of information. Institutions like the Missourian, he says, are needed.

"Most dentists I know are voracious readers. We depend on others to gather the material for us, whether it's news or technical matter. It's very important to continue things like that."

These are two people with completely different attachments to the Missourian — one of a lifetime, the other of a moment. Both see something special in this not-so-old publication.

Sunday morning, as the 100th-year edition is delivered to people across town and all over the world, Mrs. Hyde and Mr. Holmes will be in my heart.

Join me in cheering the last 100. Let's raise a glass to the next 100.

Tom