Of surprises, Dina & snow

By Lou Brancaccio, Columbian editor

Published:

 

There’s a long list of things that make life worth living, right?

A good job that you enjoy, a fair wage that keeps you in bread and butter, strong relationships you can count on.

You get the picture.

Of course, there’s more to life as well. Stuff that gives life a little something extra special.

One of those things — for me — is coming across the unexpected. Accidentally stumbling upon something that pleases you or intrigues you. You might even be pleased about your good fortune for finding it.

This is called serendipity.

Truth is, serendipity is a critical piece of any general-interest newspaper. Why? It’s an important selling point to customers.

Here’s the deal: As magazines, newsletters and especially websites become specialized, the chance you will stumble onto something unexpected is greatly reduced.

If, for example, you set up Internet feeds so you are alerted to news about bicycles, guess what? You get news about bicycles. So you plug in the five or six interests you have, and guess what? You get those.

A general-interest paper — and newspaper website — gives you some of that stuff but also gives you things you might not have thought of.

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Frankly, some of the compliments I cherish fall in line with the concept of serendipity. Readers, on occasion, have told me they enjoy opening Saturday’s Columbian and looking at this column because they’re never quite sure what to expect. (Web commenters, this is where you step in to tell folks exactly what they can expect when they read this column!)

Heck, writing about serendipity might just be considered serendipity in and of itself!

Making progress

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about former Columbian columnist Elizabeth Hovde’s terrible skiing accident.

Since then I’ve had a number of readers ask how Dina — the name most of her friends call her — is doing.

Fair to say, she is making progress but it’s a very, slow, long grind.

This is how her husband, Ryan put it with an update on the Web:

“The doctors have told me traumatic brain injuries typically take a year and a half for the healing process to be complete. She could come back 100 percent mentally and physically or she could come back a bit less.

“Only God knows.”

Ryan also thanked those who have supported Dina and their two sons throughout this challenge.

“I want all of you to know that my family would not be where (we) are today if not for all that you have done.”

I’d like to also say thanks to those who read about it in this column and sent along their prayers and donations.

The D.E. Hovde fund has been set up at the iQ Credit Union to help the family defray the mounting costs of the long recovery. So far, more than $8,000 has been raised.

Let it snow!

Chicago is known for its brutal winters, but the Windy City just went through what is now being described as its third-worst blizzard … ever.

And our daughter survived it!

Danni is a Vancouver School of Arts & Academics grad and has been working in ChiTown at Objective Paradigm ever since she graduated from Northwestern University last year.

Sure, she had to grab onto a garbage can so she didn’t get blown away at her El stop, but all is well.

The first day after the storm, she was able to work from home, but then it was back to the office and business as usual.

Lou Brancaccio is The Columbian’s editor. Reach him at 360-735-4505 or lou.brancaccio@columbian.com.