Michele Grgas Postal, The Triplicate

Sometimes the Triplicate's lobby reminds me of an old-time Paris "salon" - a welcome gathering place for all sorts of different people.

On any given day, George hand-delivers his letter to the editor along with a bag of fresh grapefruit or lemons from his property down south; Fred stops in to alert us when the newspaper rack at the post office isn't working properly; Jeff drops off newspaper clippings from the San Francisco Chronicle and the New York Times about the latest food movement because he knows I'll enjoy reading them.

Earlier this week we received a customer's subscription payment mailed to us in a Valentine's Day card. Her handwritten message thanked the folks at the Triplicate "for your service and attention."

And if you look at page B3 today, you'll notice Triplicate fans Lee and Norbert Beising profess their love for us in Love Lines.

From the conscientious bill payers and passionate letter writers to the grieving family members placing an obituary, the folks who pass through our lobby are welcome and appreciated. Some encounters are poignant and heartbreaking, especially when the obituary is for a child. No matter how many times I've experienced that horror over the years, it doesn't get any easier.

But there are lighter moments, too. Proud grandmothers bringing in the photo of their newborn grandchild for publication with the birth announcement, and equally proud owners of litters who walk in with a "sample" for us to cuddle while they place their "puppies for sale" ad.

There's the person with the story that needs telling who has to see a reporter right now and there are the tourists seeking directions to the library or the downtown murals. And when the nights get cold we see a lot more older folks requesting free papers to use as fire-starter.

My office is just beyond the Triplicate's lobby and often I'll hear a familiar voice or a question I think I might be able to answer. I jump out from behind my desk and poke my head around the corner.

Monday that led to a nice chat with Charlie, who updated me on the next Lighthouse Repertory Theatre production. Tuesday, Art came in for some paper end rolls and we got into a discussion about taxes and unemployment benefits.

I never regret stepping out of my office and engaging in conversation with the folks in the "salon." Every time I learn something.

We all know newspapers have been struggling the past few years, and the Triplicate is one. Not a day goes by that I don't worry about how to keep our business healthy, how to keep our employees happy and how to serve our community better. But today, Valentine's Day, is a great day to celebrate our good fortune to be needed and wanted and, yes, even loved in the community.

Basking in the sunlight, in the heart of downtown Crescent City a few blocks from the sparkling Pacific, it feels fabulous to be loved today.

Happy Valentine's Day back at you, neighbors and friends who pass through the doors of our "salon" for whatever the reason. You are why we come to work each day.

Michele Postal is publisher of the Del Norte Triplicate.