This week we are saying goodbye to my longtime friend and colleague Lexi Bainas, who is retiring from the business after 40 years.
Lexi started in the news business at Lake Cowichan, going to work for The Lake News in October of 1979. I was three years old. I’ve seen a lot of change in my 15 years or so working in newspapers, but it’s nothing compared to what Lexi has. She has told many a story about the advent of computers in our work, the demise of the dark room for developing rolls of film photos, and physically cutting and pasting text.
Lexi has always been full of boundless energy and a bright outlook, countering the sometimes cynical mindset one can develop after years in the news business. Though at 71 she is the oldest person in the newsroom, we have always, only partly joking, said that she has the most energy of any of us. She has always been friendly and professional, the person you could talk to after a tragedy, or when you were excited about a new project. This made her an invaluable part of our news team, as she was always curious about what was happening in town and what people of all walks of life were doing.
It has also made her a good personal friend to me. I will not lose her friendship, of course, as she exits the newsroom, but I will no longer see her every day and have her to tell me, when I’m feeling down, that “every day above ground is a good day.”
Lexi, Sarah Simpson and I all started at the paper at about the same time, the other two slightly before me. As such, we have a lot of shared history of good times and bad, and I will heartily miss being able to turn to Lexi and ask her what she thinks about an editorial idea, a front page photo, or a letter to the editor. She has saved me from many an embarrassing mistake and commiserated with me when someone calls to yell at me about something in the paper they didn’t like. She also invariably lightens my mood when she starts humming to herself without even knowing she’s doing it.
Over the years we’ve all adopted some of her many Lexi-isms, ranging from talking about “showing the flag”, to “there’s no reason sincerity can’t have a practical application”, or “I’m so hungry my stomach is banging together like the sides of an empty suitcase”.
But, I can’t begrudge Lexi her retirement. Nobody deserves the time to pursue her interests more than she does (though I confess to some envy; where’s that lottery win when you need it?).
Don’t be a stranger Lexi!