Lost and gone like Clementine

Ed Smith
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You've heard of the lost tribes of Israel. The lost boys, the lost generation, the lost cod. Lost worlds, lost causes, lost chapters of the Bible. There are lost things all over the place, which is a bit of an oxymoron.
Some of these lost things are tragic, some are not. Some are figments of someone's imagination. The lost items I am about to reveal to you now, however, are nothing short of disastrous.
I refer to the lost installments of "The View From Here."
I have not always been totally conscientious in preserving files and folders on my computer. Don't ask me why. There is no sensible answer. Even when other people remind me, I keep forgetting to back up the priceless thoughts and ideas which find their way into my writing from time to time.
It's done now. Everything from 2002 until now is safely stored away on an exterior hard drive thingamajig. That's leaves 1999, 2000 and 2001 - some 150 columns lost and gone forever like the girl in the song.
It happened when my last laptop suddenly froze up solid and refused all attempts to fix it. Experts assured me that everything on my hard drive was irretrievably lost. I didn't go public about it at the time for fear of causing mass hysteria.
But now I need those columns. I can't really wait for someone to start digging in the side of Sandy Mountain behind Springdale looking for documents in earthen jars. That's how they found the Dead Sea Scrolls, you'll remember.
But I don't think anyone has purloined copies of "The View" and hidden them away in caves in the hills. Hardly worth the trouble.
I have two options. I can go to one of the newspapers which prints "The View" and painfully search out each one, copy it and go on my way. That would take a lot of time.
The other option is a little less painful, at least for me. From time to time, there are individuals who tell me they have kept a copy of every column I've ever written. I spoke to one such lady today who kept them all in scrapbooks but can't find the scrapbook with those particular years in it.
Would it be too much to hope that somewhere out there where all you people are, there is one person who might have clipped and kept the columns from the years in question and has them in a shoebox under the bed?
The truth is, I don't know why anyone would want to do that to begin with. Perhaps to blackmail me in years to come. Perhaps to sell after I am no more than a pleasant memory and my writings suddenly become worth a fortune because I'm dead.
If someone does have the writings in question, I would like to say that I will pay a large amount of money to get them. I'd like to say that but, unfortunately, it wouldn't be true. The best I could do would be to send you a copy of my next collection of columns which hopefully would contain several from the years in question.
Of course, you'd also have my everlasting gratitude, for whatever that's worth.
We didn't have this problem before there were computers. Back in the days of the old Smith-Corona typewriters, you simply stuck a piece of carbon paper between two blank sheets and, voilÀ - you had your copy which you carefully filed or put on a shelf.
The Xerox machine was a big step forward but it quickly went the way of the dodo bird when PCs made their appearance. Computers were supposed to do away with the need for paper. Hello! Anyone who has any sense - and I'm obviously not one of them - makes a hard copy of everything.
So, if by chance you are one of those people who save everything, no matter how useless, and my columns from the lost years are among your souvenirs, I would really appreciate hearing from you. My phone number is 673-3696 and my e-mail is at the end of this column. Bless you and your seed forever.
• • •
How quickly can things change!
A couple of weeks ago the world rejoiced to see Barack Obama become president of the United States. He wasn't just an American president, he was the great hope of the civilized world for a new order of common sense and justice for all.
Not since John F. Kennedy had a leader inspired such an outbreak of expectation that now things would begin to get better. Not just economically but socially and politically.
Canadians especially joined in the clamour. Perhaps to more than any other nation outside the States, Obama spelled a new era of co-operation and trust in our relationship.
That was then. More recently, the marvelous new president took the unprecedented step of legislating a "buy America only" policy that would have dire consequences on its largest trading partner, Canada.
Not America first, mind you, but America only. You might say the bloom has gone off the rose. We think we're in economic trouble now? Wait until we can't sell our manufactured goods, or our raw materials such as iron and steel.
As usual, however, I have a solution. When Mr. Obama arrives in a few days, set up a half-hour meeting with our own Danny Williams. I guarantee Barack won't be nearly as anxious to cut us off after a few minutes with our premier.
I don't care how strong Obama thinks he is, Danny is stronger. I don't care how stubborn, Danny is more stubborn. I don't care who Obama thinks he is, Danny thinks he is someone better.
After all, it's a bad time of year for the Eastern Seaboard to be without the electricity that flows from Churchill Falls, our Churchill Falls.
I think Barack and Danny would have a very interesting conversation.

Ed Smith lives in Springdale. His e-mail address is edsmith@nf.sympatico.ca

Organizations: Xerox

Geographic location: Israel, Springdale, United States Sandy Mountain Canada

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