Editor-In-Chief is chapter 13 of Fine Line, sequel to Woodcutter’s Revival. Both books, written by Jerry Slauter are historical fiction. The novels are set at the beginning of the final phase of the Industrial Revolution.
Some of the characters visit Whitney’s farms in Indiana to determine if they would like to uproot from Colorado and move to Indiana. One farm is on land reclaimed from the Grand Kankakee Marsh near English Lake. The other farm is located one hundred miles from the English Lake farm.
After talking about farming for two days, Daryl visits the nearest town to determine if there are newspaper opportunities. While visiting Williamsport, he meets Richard Douglas, Editor-In-Chief of the Wabash Watchman, Warren County’s only twice weekly newspaper. The following is an excerpt from the chapter:
Daryl could see the Wabash down beyond a beach that was at the end of Washington Street. He walked down to the beach. As he was taking a few pictures with his Kodak and skipping stones on the river, he had a funny feeling he was being watched. He also smelled cigar smoke. Shortly, a voice called out, “Do you know how to make pictures with that Kodak or do you just point and shoot it?”
Daryl looked for the direction of the voice. There behind a sycamore tree in the late afternoon twilight, he could see the source of the voice and the cigar smoke. He answered, “I do alright.”
As Daryl walked toward the man, he could see a tall man of medium frame that might have been athletic in his younger days. He still had broad shoulders and long legs, but what appeared to have once been a well maintained waste line was approaching the same girth of his chest. He had gray hair, almost white, down over his ears and a full gray beard, cropped evenly all around. He had a large mustache that flowed out over the beard on his cheeks. He wore gray pants, a black vest and a gray smock coat, all wool. He wore a black felt hat with a crease in the top and uniform brim around it that did not dip up or down toward the front or the back.
“I’m Daryl Daily. I’m not from around here.”
The man replied, “I can see that.
Daryl said, “It gets melancholy down here about this time of the day.”
The man added, “Especially, this time of the year. I’ve had my fondest childhood memories here and seen my worst nightmares realized.”
As Daryl starred back to the man, wondering what to say next, he said, “I like your hat. It reminds me of the hats the reporters in New York wore. “What type is it?”
The man said, “I guess you would call it a fedora. Been to New York, have you?
Daryl smiled and said, “Yes.”
The man said, “Excuse my manners. I guess it just took me a minute to recover from someone encroaching upon my space. I am Richard Douglas, Chief of the Wabash. My moderation is my only extreme. My humility is my only source of pride. My adherence to flexibility is my only source of rigidity. Fairness is my only bias. Toward balance is the only direction in which I lean. I don’t have many enemies, but my friends don’t like me much either.”
Richard took on a more serious appearance and asked, “Would you like to see the newspaper office?”
Daryl exclaimed, “Of course!”
In the remainder of the chapter, Daryl hears about Richard’s adventures as a child along the Wabash. Woodcutter’s Revival is available now. Fine Line is scheduled to be released in 2014.
Jerry Slauter is a retired school teacher who loves to spend time with his children, grandchildren, travel and work in his wood, metal and leather shops. Writing also aligns well with his passion for reading and researching.
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