Recently I have found myself requesting back issues of the Journal at the public library. What has captured my attention is not the treasure trove of articles chronicling events that shape Humboldt County over the decades. Nor is it a chance to reread the saucy digs at Palco, the railroad and Richardson Grove that are dished up by the Town Dandy.

No, indeed. A couple of months ago I stumbled across a regular, if hidden away, feature that has been part of the Journal for years but that I had understandably and sadly overlooked. I suspect others have been missing it, too. In the midst of the classified adverts is Barry Evans’ absolutely delightful “Field Notes.” What a treat it was to discover the Journal’s hidden gem. This regular feature is not to be missed! Each week, Barry Evans crafts a witty and fascinating look at the commonplace and the obscure. His writing is clear, succinct and full of subtle humor. His choice of topics is quite literally all over the map. Astronomy, geography, physics, biology, botany, geology and mysteries of the universe are all topics for Barry’s pen. Historic oddities, new insights on the commonplace and a dash of local flavor make for a great once a week pick-me-up.

With all the gloom covered by the press as daily fare, and for much needed relief from the political posturing that is covered so well in the rest of the Journal, “Field Notes” is a refreshing break. There are weeks when the anticipation of reading “Field Notes” has been reason enough to pick up a copy of the North Coast Journal.

For years I found that Herb Caen’s daily column was a perfectly legitimate reason to pick up the San Francisco Chronicle. I now find “Field Notes” serves the same purpose for the Journal. You may have hidden “Field Notes” in the backwater of the paper but it’s been happily discovered. Perhaps its location at the end of the classified ads is a ploy to get me to read The Marketplace. Regardless, Barry has a new fan in me. From the wide variety of topics to the whimsical biographical profile of the author at the end of each piece, “Field Notes” is a great regular feature of the North Coast Journal. Thanks for continuing to provide Barry a place to unleash his humor; it is most appreciated.

The back issues are as delightful as the current copy. Bravo!

Stephen Avis, Eureka

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