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Alyssa, we will miss you, your laughter

I coerced a friend into coming over one evening last week to help me knock one of many home-repair projects off my to-do list.
He brought along his young son, Landen, who has a perpetual smile on his face and that contagious laugh that seem to wholly belong to the very young — that infectious, whole-hearted giggle that gets you laughing along, even when you have no idea what is so funny.
I believe that most, if not all, children are born with that innate ability to laugh whole-heartedly and unabashedly in humor or enjoyment, but it’s a trait we lose as we get older and learn to be more restrained and reserved.
I would say that is true of nearly all adults, with the exception of my co-worker and friend Alyssa Schauer.
Alyssa is ending her employment here at McLeod Publishing, finishing up this week as she starts her orientation in her new job at 3M, and we train in a new reporter, Jessica Grams.
One thing I have to say about Alyssa, her enthusiasm for all things, great and small, has not changed since she was a small child — and that includes her laughter. Many times, she’ll start laughing while sitting at her computer, looking at something on Facebook or some other website, and I can’t help but laughing along, even though I have no idea what’s so funny.
Alyssa has always said that what she likes best about her job at The Chronicle is the variety of experiences it affords her — from covering city council meetings to interviewing people have met tragedy, overcome losses, or who are celebrating the victories and achievements of their lives.
So I’ve worried about her doing factory work. I was afraid she would find it monotonous.
But Monday afternoon she arrived at our office gushing, as usual, with enthusiasm and energy.
She’ll be working making post-it tags, she told us.
“They come in all different of colors!” she enthused.
I should have known that she would find, as usual, joy in the small details, as well as the big. Every day is an adventure for her.
For the past couple of years, Alyssa, Josh Randt and I have occasionally spent an evening out enjoying a pizza and a few beverages. We jokingly called it our group therapy support group, where we would bemoan the frustrations of our jobs and celebrate our victories. Eventually, our chats evolved to include families, friends, and shared interests like movies and television shows. Our status as colleagues evolved into the friendships.
Alyssa has promised us that she will stay in touch, contribute an occasional column and, most importantly to me, agreed to continue our support group therapy.
I’ll miss having her around the office on an everyday basis, but I’m looking forward eagerly to the laughter, pizza, beer and, of course, the latest tales of adventure.
And I certainly want to welcome our latest addition to the McLeod Publishing family — Jessica Grams, a person familiar to many of you as she grew up in the Glencoe area and is a GSL alumni. She’s only been with us a day and a half as I write this, but I can already tell she’ll fit in famously.
Please welcome her when you see her out and about in the community.