Reedy Press Will Be Back

60792-wonderfullifeWe’ve seen the movie. We know what happens next. But it’s good to remember this.

A businessman faces disaster, so much that he goes off to end his life.  An angel-in-training intervenes and stops him and convinces him his life was worth living. He returns to see his many friends have restored his fortunes a hundred times over.

That conclusion of It’s a Wonderful Life comes to mind when thinking about the massive warehouse fire yesterday, Nov. 15, 2017 that destroyed the inventory of my publisher,  Reedy Press.  No, Reedy Press owner Josh Stevens didn’t go off anywhere, and there was no angel. At least any angel we could see.

But there is a similarity. I’m confident that Reedy Press and Josh Stevens will be back and bigger than ever because of their well-earned reputation for decency. I’ve known Josh since he brought me on board in 2009 to do a book about South St. Louis. Sometimes he’s aggravated me. Sometimes I’ve wished he’d be easier on me as an editor.  But he’s always acted out of integrity. His definite ideas about how to build a first-class publishing company have always worked.

I see that in all the Facebook comments I’m seeing on Facebook from fellow authors.  They’re full of love and willingness to do what they can to help a friend who’s down. Bank on this: that comes from years of doing the right thing. In this small town, you wouldn’t see that if Josh had spent years trying to get the best of people.  I know his many friends among booksellers, the media and others are ready to back him. I know he’ll do the right thing in planning his company’s return. Two years from now, Reedy Press will be bigger than ever, and the fire will play a part of that restoration.

A scripture comes to mind: Romans 8:28. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Josh and all the workers and the authors in the Reedy Press can count on it.

I can count on it, too. I have 27 books for the seven signings and presentations between now and Christmas. I have none for next year. It would seem that an income source is gone. But I’m not worried. I’ll be back, and so will Reedy Press.


Published by Jim Merkel

Reedy Press published four of my books, Hoosiers and Scrubby Dutch: St. Louis's South Side, 2010; Beer, Brats, and Baseball: St. Louis Germans, 2012; The Making of an Icon: The Dreamers, The Schemers, and the Hard Hats Who Built the Gateway Arch; and the Second Edition of Hoosiers and Scrubby Dutch: St. Louis's South Side, 2014. They're available in bookstores and online. For an autographed copy, send a check for $21.50 made out to Jim Merkel, to Jim Merkel, 4216 Osceola St., St. Louis, MO 63116.

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