Ten Years | Sojourners

Ten Years

It was a hot August night in Chicago. The first copy of the Post-American came off the press at 2:30 a.m. I was standing in the main press room of the city's cheapest printer. I had never seen a large printing press in operation before and was fascinated. The night crew let me come in and watch, no doubt smiling to themselves about this fellow who wanted to be there to make sure everything came out all right.

I saw that our layout boards had been made into plates. A few weeks before, I didn't even know what layout boards or plates were. But now the plates were put on the press, and the presses began to roll. I could see all our dreams, sweat, and prayers coming to fruition. It wasn't long before the first copy rolled off that big web press. I was at the end of the line waiting for it. The ink was still wet when I picked it up and exclaimed, "It's beautiful!"

I waited until the first bundle was finished, put it under my arm, and headed home, promising we would return the next day to pick up the rest.

As I drove home that night, my mind was filled with thoughts and hopes. Halfway home I pulled into a gas station. While my tank was being filled, I walked up to three stoned teenagers who were sitting on the curb by the station's office and handed them each a copy of the brand new magazine, announcing proudly, "You are the first people to ever receive a copy of the Post-American!" Their bleary eyes slowly scanned what had just been handed to them, and I nervously awaited our first public response.

One kid spied the price printed in the corner, looked at me, and said, "Only a quarter for this thing!" I was elated. Another reached into his pocket, no doubt to pull out a quarter. "No, no, no," I said, "For you all, this is free." And ever since, our publisher, Joe Roos, has told me I give away too many complimentary copies.

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