OBSERVED: Is it all gloom and doom? Hardly ...

These days, the measure of a good day can be found in my front right pocket.

  • West Orange Times & Observer
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These days, the measure of a good day can be found in my front right pocket.

If it’s full of flowering weeds, acorns and a few twigs, the day is a win.

Since March, my wife and I have been working from home. Our two older children are taking classes via LaunchEd, and our 4-year-old … well, she’s the bundle of joy that is the persistent X-factor in it all. She’s like the “But wait, there’s one more thing …” moment on a TV game show, when the host pulls out a blindfold or other impediment to make the challenge just that much harder.

On good days, I’m able to escape from work for an hour and take Calliope on a tricycle ride in our neighborhood and to the playground. On good days, we have to stop at every weed that may have sprouted a few colorful petals.

They’re soooo beautiful! she exclaims as she picks them and places them in my pocket.

Soon, a few acorns join the weed flowers. They’re for the squirrels in our backyard. Then, a few twigs for our dog.

On good days, I’m able to tap into Calliope’s worldview. It’s unobscured, pure — she sees unrelenting beauty in everything around her. A simple hour outside brings such amazement to Calliope. For me, it has helped keep the ground steady.

Over the summer, Observer President and CEO Matt Walsh said he’d love to see a newspaper without any mention of the C-word. He figured most of the editors throughout our company would scoff at the idea. However, I absolutely loved it and decided we would take up the challenge for our Thanksgiving edition.

So today, we present to you our no-C-word Thanksgiving edition. Here, you won’t find a single story about “pivoting” or “unprecedented times.” There are no mentions of testing, treatments or statistics. Rather, these pages are filled only with the hyperlocal stories that make West Orange and Southwest Orange such a special place to live.

And for all you negative Nancies out there: No, we’re not burying our heads in the sand. We’re simply turning our attention to the goodness in our world. Every story here is still timely and relevant. Every one of them can inform and entertain you. Every one of them helps to better connect you to your community.

So, as you wait patiently for that turkey to finish in the oven, I hope you take some time to unplug from 2020 and dive into this edition. I hope it fills your pocket with happiness and helps you realize there is — and always will be — good in the world.

From all of us at the Observer Media Group, Happy Thanksgiving.



Michael Eng

As a child, Editor and Publisher Michael Eng collected front pages of the Kansas City Star during Operation Desert Storm, so it was a foregone conclusion that he would pursue a career in journalism. He holds a journalism degree from the University of Missouri — Columbia School of Journalism. When he’s not working, you can find him spending time with his wife and three children, or playing drums around town. He’s also a sucker for dad jokes.

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