Letter: Celebrating 30 years reading the Manitoulin Expositor

Where, oh where is my Manitoulin Expositor?

To the Expositor:

Where’s my Expositor? It’s not in the mail box! Why can’t I have my weekly Manitoulin Island fix? 

When I first set foot on Manitoulin, 30 magical years ago, living in Kagawong, I bought The Manitoulin Expositor every week. Every week. For 30 years. Non-stop. When I’m on-Island each summer, reading it is basic fare. What’s doing? What’s new? And when I return home to New York City, I must read The Expositor, the subscription paid, and each issue is sent in the mail to me.

Did I say 30 years?

These months surviving through and around the pandemic have not been easy for anyone, whether here in New York City, or on Manitoulin. By now, I’m used to being sequestered in the heart of New York City, being careful, following all the rules, and I’m doing fine. So far. Cleaning, cooking, reading, writing, exercising, reading, writing, and keeping in touch with friends. When The Expositor arrives in my mailbox, I smile, eager for my Island fix. 

Yet, I must spray each issue with Lysol, and wait a day. And read, read. 

But no Expositor for weeks!

Where’s the latest issue? Our US mail service, and our letter carriers are under siege, wearing masks and gloves. Many people have left NYC, having their mail sent on to another address. But I’m here.

It is Saturday, May 23 and no Expositors for weeks! 

While the phone and email help, it’s not the same thing. I long to hold this newspaper, my friend for so many years, in my hands. 

Dejected, I go downstairs to get the mail. 

Imagine this amazement! Four issues of The Manitoulin Expositor stuffed in my mailbox! 

Four Issues, April 1, 22, 29 and May 6, crying to be received and read. Of course, I have a mask and gloves on, carry them up to my apartment, and place them on the floor. Now, spray with Lysol, first the front page, and an hour later, the back page. I have to wait… All clear.

The Island’s favourite hothouse tomato is under heavy lockdown in her Manhattan apartment and was pining for her Expositor fix. Four copies arrived at once so she has settled in with a glass of white and is busily catching up.

As an author and newspaper columnist, myself, I’m anxious to read what’s new on-Island. But it is May 23, what’s old has happened, and has passed. I read the April 1 and move along. I’m happy to read slowly, the profusion of Island happenings as I sit in my apartment on 37th Street. Reading on, I’m so aware of the tough times on Island, and especially here, on the island of Manhattan.

Yes, the energy, vitality and strength of the stories, columns, news items, recipes, ads and in the back, what’s for sale, make me smile, giving me a sense of Manitoulin community. Holding four newspapers straight on I pour a glass of wine to celebrate, while reading. Okay, two glasses.

I dote on stories written by Alicia McCutcheon, Warren Schlote and Michael Erskine. In summer, I’ve often been to the office to say hello to Kerrene Tilson and Marilyn Harasym. I’ve bought books, and paid for ads with Robin Anderson, and gone to the production room to see David Patterson and Kendra Edwards. I count on Debbie Bailey’s wonderful energy. And Tom Sasvari in Gore Bay.

Provided with four editions to luxuriate in, here’s my unexpected Manitoulin reading party. I linger in columns about friends’ achievements, politics, and these days, restrictions, warnings and what to do. On the Island for 30 years, I know all the restaurants, and read each advertisement carefully. I used to wish I might have a house on-Island. At this stage, I’m blessed and honoured to have the best friends, and to stay with them. When I visit, I offer to do laundry, iron, clean, vacuum, push a lawnmower; I love to iron! 

Why do my pals always laugh, saying, “Bonnie, just bring the wine and take us out to dinner!”

And I do.

The Mother’s Day issue with The Expositor’s happy large red-lettered masthead with a red kiss is something I accept.

Thank you, non-stopping, hardworking friends at The Expositor, keeping us informed, engaged and, so important, in community. 

With admiration and respect,

Bonnie Kogos

Your 30-year Manitoulin Expositor subscriber