This piece was published on Half Moon Bay Patch on Nov. 15, 2010. It won a third-place prize in the San Francisco Peninsula Press Club’s 2011 Greater Bay Area Journalism Awards competition for the “Blog/Commentary” category in the Broadband/Web division.
You see, in the Chinese culture, new parents throw a red egg and ginger party on their child’s one-month birthday. This tradition originates back to the times when many babies wouldn’t make it to the 30-day mark. Once the child reached that milestone, they were believed to be likely to survive, so it was at that time that the baby was introduced to the extended family and community.
As far as my mother knew, no new grandchild had shown up last month, so she looked a little perplexed. But when I reminded her that it was one month ago on October 15 when Half Moon Bay Patch launched, she smiled.
“That’s a cute idea,” she said.
True, it only took 3 months to introduce Half Moon Bay Patch to the world, compared to the 9 months it takes to give birth to an infant. Not being a mother, I know that I can’t even begin to comprehend all the tiny, incremental processes that take place inside the womb over this period. Nor do I know what it’s like to give birth to a live human being and the devote the amount of time, energy, consideration and patience it takes to keep coming back to nudge the child along what you believe to be the right path day after day, no matter how little sleep you’ve had due to their crying the night before, or how late you stayed up to help them with their 7th grade science fair project.
But I think you know where I’m going here, because what I’m going to say is what you already know: that I can relate in some way to the ongoing effort to keep a young and growing entity alive and well.
What does one have to do to keep an entity alive and well?
* You have to feed it. (New stories and content every day. Sometimes this involves staying up late into the night, depending on what happened the day before.)
* Before you feed it, though, you have to go out in the world and find it some food. Sometimes you hunt, sometimes you forage, sometimes you pick fruit off a tree, and sometimes you’re searching for wild mushrooms that might take awhile for you to find. (Choosing stories to cover. Assigning stories. Reporting. Write or film the story. Take pictures. Edit. Publish. Repeat.)
* You have to get it out on the playground. (Launched site, thank goodness there’s no repeat loop here.)
* And once it’s out on the playground, you have to supervise to make sure it doesn’t get into any kind of trouble. (Daily monitoring, updating, playing fair.)
It would be nice to be able to type a satisfactory “Check” after all of the above items, but to do so would be to miss the point entirely.
Why? Because as a daily publication, we can only move along one day at a time. We are celebrating the one-month birthday of Half Moon Bay Patch today, and I am putting a plate of virtual, symbolic red eggs and ginger in front of each of you right now to thank you for coming to our party and for reading this — but our work still continues after today.
The contributors and I have talked with many of you over the last 30 days. We’ve enjoyed reporting a range of stories from arts, business, city and Coastside news, sports, government, education, farming and the environment. I want to thank all of you who shared your perspective with us in order to make those stories find their final destination here. I would also like to thank our readers, as well as our contributors and columnists, as it’s all of our actions together that keeps this a living and breathing entity every day.
But I recognize that there are still so many people and so many parts of Half Moon Bay and the Coastside that we still need to reach. We’re still young and growing, but we’ve been out on the playground and are getting more out there every day. We hope that you’ll come meet us there, whether it be through your participation through comments, submissions and story ideas online — or in person when we’re out reporting.
Why red eggs and ginger, you ask? Eggs symbolize fertility. Red symbolizes good luck. And ginger gives a mother who has just given birth the strength to keep going and continue to raise her child (though anyone who knows me well would agree that it would be more appropriate to make this a red egg and coffee party).
So thanks, and we hope that you’ll sit and hang out with us at the table for awhile.
Photo by Kristine A. Wong