Photo by George Lauby
Frank L. Graham
The loss of Frank Graham, the founder of the North Platte Bulletin, not long before Christmas brought to mind one of his favorite stories. Like many Texans, Frank loved to talk and tell stories. He was one of the most engaging people ever born.
Frank and Laura Johnston, with irreplaceable help from Greg Hood, put out the first two issues of the Bulletin from a corner of Frank and Laura's basement. And when the first one was printed, they walked around the neighborhood handing it out.
“Here’s your Bulletin,” they’d say. “We’re puttin out a new paper.”
Their joy spread immediately. They impressed people with a simple act and a meaningful gift.
Aside from Frank’s irrespressible need to show himself to people, Frank's father was credited for the idea. Frank's dad was a small town Texas postmaster who with wife and kids hand-delivered the mail on Christmas morning.
Frank loved to tell that story. As I recall it, his dad would hustle everyone up to breakfast and they’d go to the post office and pick up the mail, which was sorted and ready to go but would normally lie there until the day after Christmas.
The Grahams would drive around town, stopping at all the addresses they could.
“Here’s your mail,” his dad would say. Or he’d tell one of his kids “Now you take those letters up to Mr. Jones’ house and you tell him ‘Merry Christmas, we thought you might like to have your mail this morning.'"
They’d spend a few hours Christmas morning delivering mail around the little town. It became a family holiday ritual, and it left a deep impression on Frank L. Graham and by association, we who knew him best.
In that spirit, we spent a recent evening handing out Bulletins for Christmas. Even the cover this week is a giant Christmas card.
Rest in peace Frank. Merry Christmas.