A good friend of Raymond’s and mine likes to describe what one does when one lives in the country as “pacing the acreage.” In other words, putting on your sandals, or rubber boots, or galoshes, as the season dictates, and surveying what’s doing – what’s growing, what trees need to be thinned out, what fences need mending – out there on your property in the wilds. I know that Raymond likes that idea.
But because the Manse is not situated on a very large parcel of land, there’s really not all that much acreage to pace. You can pretty much cover our yard here at the Manse in less than five minutes, unless the condition of the lilac bush or the day lilies requires some particularly close examination.
One of the consequences of that lack of acreage is that, whenever we drive around rural Hastings County, Raymond eyes with interest any large parcel of woodland that has a For Sale sign on it. “What would you do with 100 (or 200, or 500) acres of woodland?” I ask him. To which he generally responds with something along the lines of, “Well, there would be the acreage to pace!”
And someday, I am sure, he will acquire a nice little (or not-so-little) local acreage to pace to his heart’s content. Hey, maybe he could purchase a sugar bush and start making maple syrup!
But for now, that country-gentleman routine will totally have to wait. Because Raymond has just taken on a position that puts him right smack back into the middle of the Canadian news-media milieu, the one he left behind not very long ago when he retired after a long and universally respected career as executive editor (and before that, managing editor, and before that, city editor, and so on) of the Montreal Gazette.
Here is the text of the announcement made today on the website of Canada’s National Newspaper Awards:
Raymond Brassard has joined the NNA administrative team as Editorial Consultant. He replaces Paul Woods, who has joined the Toronto Star.
Brassard worked as an editor at the Montreal Gazette for 30 years, including stints as news editor, life editor and city editor. He was appointed managing editor in 1995 and executive editor in 2010, before retiring in 2013.
He will be responsible for the recruitment and assignment of judges to the 22 categories, rule compliance for entries, external communications and the creation of materials for the annual awards gala.
So there you go! Something to keep Raymond from pining for that large acreage he does not yet have to pace, as he renews ties with all the good and interesting people from the Canadian media world with whom he’s worked and rubbed shoulders for so many years. I know I am wildly biased, but: there is no better person for this job, which is all about recognizing excellence in journalism. That is something to which Raymond has dedicated a large part of his life.
Now, this new role is obviously going to take away from his time for checking out auctions and making dump runs and, yes, pacing the acreage. But personally, I think Raymond is going to thrive on the mix of fast-paced, big-city-based journalism stuff and his country-gentleman existence (pining for the acreage to pace) in Queensborough.
So – would you like to join me in congratulating my husband on his cool new gig? Oh yes, and also – if you happen to know of an interesting woodlot for sale…