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Column: Candy Coated Chocolate Sheds Light On A Great Mystery

By: Forrest R. Church, Publisher

What do you think of the new newspaper appearance this week?

Well, frankly, I’m with you.  Whether good (we anticipate), bad, or otherwise – I’ll discover right along with you as this column was written before we went to print.

I have been disappointed in our outsourced print quality recently, as have some of our readers contacting us.  Nothing is more disappointing than putting hard work into perfecting local news coverage to see that print version come off the press with less than desired quality. We hope this week’s edition find the quality we desire. More on the hopeful quality improvement in the future.

FOLLOW UP TO LAST WEEK’ COLUMN: Sorry, You Cannot Travel To Mexico – Welcome To The United States!

Last week I wrote more of a book than a column concerning the loss of my identification on a recent rare family trip.  This week’s column will be smaller, I promise.

Ironically more than one reader sent a note my way indicating that they enjoyed my thoughts, but yes, I may have more or less taken the award for the biggest newspaper column ever written.

I don’t know about that, maybe it would have reached that mark if I really wrote what I felt and shared as Paul Harvey used to say, “the rest of the story”.

In addition, my wife Casey wouldn’t let me.  She thought two broadsheet newspaper pages was a bit excessive thus three was out of the question.  So I’ll blame her for keeping last week’s column short and to the point.

Thank you to all those that reached out within the last week and a half whether you agreed or disagreed with the thoughts and observations in my last column.  I found your perspective intriguing whether made via a phone call, email, social media, or face-to-face.

Not all response was positive.  One of the social media cruise group pages with a few hundred thousand members ripped us as being irresponsible for traveling without proper identification (untrue).  Despite last week’s column stating that very same mindset within the large section on how the human race tends to pass blame and never takes responsibility for their own life circumstances, it didn’t matter, some serious bashing still took place.

I tried to correct many of the opinions being shared such as the fact we did have the proper identification and we did follow the suggestions of Carnival Cruise Lines on what to do via their Emergency Travel agent.  It was a lost cause.  People wrote unfactual comments/opinions, then people responded to those unfactual comments drawing their opinions even further from facts.

This kind of reminded me of the old elementary school learning lesson with a classroom of kids.  The teacher whispers a line of text in the first child’s ear, then they have to tell the next, continuing to the last child.  When the last child is asked what they were told, it is not even randomly close to the original.  Sounds a bit like society and especially social media!

I thought it was rather humourous that people wrote negative statements about our circumstance as if we were trying to pass blame, yet their very mindset could have been copied/pasted from the column itself, thus not original.  It became clear to me some just wanted to argue.  One such person went as far as calling us a “cancer”, also noting I had a Christian College background when scooping me out on social media, which justified their comment, at least in their mindset.

A private message received from a group member summed up the bashing in a nutshell.  Many in the group are invested in cruise line (stocks) which is why anybody stating a bad experience within group posts are slammed heavily. If someone talks about a negative experience (there are many), they were torn apart by some group members.

It was clear that most commented on my posts without even reading the column.  That’s how society now works. Few take the time to read, educate themselves, and why ever seek out the facts when you can ever so quickly dish out useless opinion.

At the end of the day all the bickering, differences of opinion, and hatred spread online never changes someone’s opinion which, whether right or wrong, they are fully entitled having.  I’m from the cloth that we can heavily disagree, I’ll still buy you a cup of coffee.

This is why the media knows headlines are much more important than the story itself.  Media outlets often twist a headline to line up with their political belief and ideology.  Most will simply read a title and never spend five minutes educating themselves on what the article actually says. There’s important factual content in the actual article, its important to spend the time reading.

I think I’m drifting towards another column, moving on …

Most individuals I have talked to since last week’s column have been positive. I have discussed with our local officials in Ohio the concern with a same-day identification replacement system like other states provide residents.  Ohio seems to be lagging behind in this area.  I think I may have shed a light on the concern.  This is something I fully intend to stay on top of, though I know any change at a government level will take some time. Fortunately, most of this system seems to be in place, it’s just a matter of allowing citizens access in a very secure manner.

At the end of the day, I keep thinking about the veteran with the Korean hat next to me when being denied cruise access due to not having a proper ID.  I do not know if he was from Ohio or if he ever boarded the ship after I left the port.  That doesn’t matter.  How many others, especially the elderly who can become easily confused, get stuck in a major United States transportation point of entry and discover their photo identification or passport is lost or stolen?

1.7 million travel daily in America according to a Google search, take that time x10 or maybe more during holidays and Spring Break.  If 1/1000th of 1% lose, misplace, or have their identification stolen, are they all to be denied travel in the era we live with facial recognition and endless other forms of identification readily available?  Out to the street with you!?!

While I told a long-winded personal experience in my last column, this is not about me, this is a hope to improve the system.

Other random points and observations since last week’s column included:

(1) Despite around ten forms of identification and my birth certificate and social security card, the light also came days later that my press credentials are approved by the secret service to cover President Obama, Trump, and Biden events, though always heavily screened.  So there’s that tidbit of info.  The IRS, State of Ohio, Secret Service, and TSA all accepted my forms of identification, just not a boat going to Mexico.  Again, a case-by-case screening needs to take place when travelers lose or have their identification stolen at travel points of entry/exit.

(2) I was also told at the port that Carnival does not keep prior cruiser’s credentials or information in their system thus having cruised before does not help our lack of photo identification need.  Yet when Carnival Guest services talked to me several days ago they contradicted this. They first apologized several times that their Emergency Travel Agent told me to come to the port and give extra time for screening, and that I “should be” okay to board the boat with my family due to other forms of identification on my person.  They admitted on the phone this put me into a bad scenario and also admitting they should have never been stated to come to the port; that they would investigate and correct this shared misinformation (recorded call).

Yet circling back a few paragraphs, they slipped up in the phone call and said, “Mr. Church you are a big guy I see from your photo in our system.”

(Pause on  my end) – But your supervisor told me at the port you did not keep information from our prior cruises, now you are telling my photo is in your system?

(“Let it go Forrest” …)

M&M’s In The Chair Cushion

If you ever think for a minute owning a business with your spouse means you have lots of time to talk about all those important things that need to be discussed in a marriage you would be wrong.  See them more, yes.  Quality time with them, not so much.

Last week my wife and I sat in the living room talking about all the “crazy” that life has thrown at us in recent weeks after getting our kids to bed.  It was a nice and rare 30-minute conversation about life, business, the kids, and what if any hidden purpose was there for my driver’s license coming up missing and not being able to enjoy our family cruise together.

Some believe these things happen for a reason.  Some believe we float around and good and bad things randomly occur.  I’m not going into a theological discussion here.

However, ironic timing? Read on …

Those that know me are aware I am not supposed to eat anything with a carbohydrate or sugar in it as my blood glucose drops sharply blurring my vision and making me feel like I drank too much alcohol and have a hangover.

However, if my sugar drops too low for any reason (usually diet slip-up) I then have to eat sugar about every hour or so to keep it up for the day, then it’s an up-and-down battle with glucose spikes.

Anyway, I was battling this as I talked to my wife in our rare quality conversation while eating sinful M&Ms to boost my sugar levels.  Sitting in my favorite recliner I dropped a few of these hard candy-shelled tidbits of sinful goodness.  After tearing our house apart numerous times looking for my lost identification, and having a relative do the same when stuck trying to make our trip happen last week, guess what I felt in the crack of the chair?

Nope, not round almost dime-sized tidbits of goodness, a rectangle piece of plastic about the size of a credit card or more specifically the size of a state-issued, needed-to-travel, photo identification known as a driver’s license.

Unreal, there’s the missing identification!?!  See how life works?  I checked that chair 2-3 times, even flipping it over, yet hard candy-coated chocolate tidbits of goodness ended up finding it and solving a great mystery.


I would love to hear from you.  As always, feel free to reach out to me at or via the mail at 115 Broad Street, Montpelier, Ohio 43543.

The post Column: Candy Coated Chocolate Sheds Light On A Great Mystery first appeared on The Village Reporter.

Source: The Village Reporter

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