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DEAR READER: How can I describe the perfect day?

Thursday, July 17, 2014 | 2:11 p.m. CDT; updated 1:08 p.m. CDT, Friday, September 12, 2014

Dear Reader,

Journalistic conventions have few answers for pleasant days.

No weather records were set this week. No low lows. No low highs or high highs. The closest to "news" we came was a typhoon in the Pacific as a possible cause for this unseasonably, unimaginably, un-July-like week of near perfect weather.

And yet, if news is defined by what's most on people's minds and lips, this was a big news week.

At the morning news meetings, I harangued neophyte reporters to find the story while admitting I had no idea what the story should be. Something nice, I thought. Something wonderful.

And search they did. William Schmitt found fish, or the hope of fish. He reported that cooler water temperatures bring up lake oxygen levels, which makes fish more active.

The biologists interviewed didn't say anything about fish happiness, but I'm thinking even crappies must be smiling fish smiles as they swim. We don't know for sure. William didn't interview a single fish.  

The closest thing to controversy was the closing of public pools Tuesday because — what I'm about to write is beyond comprehension — it was too cold. Historians 100 years from now will unearth the story beneath the rubble of moldy books in storage and assume it was in error. One big typo. Perhaps a July fool's joke.

Reporters did a good job finding stories. Here's the story I would have written:

"Columbia residents were hit with a wave of pleasantness this week as temperatures soared to living room cozy and plummeted to near sweater weather at night. 

"Children were heard giving elders polite responses. Mothers and daughters went for walks in woods. Men held doors open for women. Barking dogs merely woofed. Natives transplanted from Southern California were strangely quiet.

"Even farmers were overheard saying nice things about the sun-filled, sweat-absent days that couldn't climb above the mid-70s. The farmers then aired ominous warnings about drought, flood and pestilence just ahead.

"Pedestrians downtown waved at drivers who were seen — actually seen — because screen-tinted windows were rolled down. Flowers perked up as bees buzzed.

"The Twitter-verse exploded with trending words like 'beautiful' and 'OMG.' Anna Robinson tweeted, 'Can it please stay like this the rest of the summer?' Frankie Zucek was more ambitious: 'Can it be like this every day?'"

In short, people were happier for a week in July. I can't prove it. I didn't interview everyone. But I'm thinking it might be true.

I'll ask a friendly fish.

Tom


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