“What’s Happenin’ – by poet Peggy Trojan


What’s Happenin’
Peggy Trojan

Selma Makkela
printed all the news fit to print.
The Hemmilas had a boy,
Erickson’s cow was hit by lightening,
The Polks motored to Chicago
for their grandson’s graduation.
Nothing to cause you anger
or “take to bed worry.”
When you saw Willard
at the feed store, you could ask how
Mildred’s broken leg was coming along,
send an anniversary card
to the Mattsens,
keep an eye out for
Johnson’s lost calico cat.
The news connected you
to community,
safe in the knowledge
you were informed enough
to know just what
was going on.

Peggy Trojan retired from teaching English to the north woods of Wisconsin.
She enjoys quilting, gardening, picking berries, and writing poetry. She is a
member of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets.

I had an aunt, Edna Johnson, who also “printed all the news fit to print” in the Door County Advocate. When I would travel all the way from Green Bay to Ellison Bay (!) to see her for the weekend – about 80 miles – she’d make sure she mentioned that in her column. Everything was newsworthy, and we had to wait for news – wait for news to be published. That’s hard to believe for those of us who receive news every moment, at our fingertips.

But have we lost our sense of community, a community that cares, a community that takes notice, a community of real people, not “bits of information?” For as easy as information is to receive these days, connection does not seem easy to receive.

“Something’s lost, and something’s gained, in living every day…” from “Both Sides Now,” written by Joni Mitchell.

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