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December 21. 2014 8:40PM

Old friends and a 'homeless angel' make for good stories anytime


I like good stories, which is probably part of why I am in this business. The other part is genetics.

One story I liked last week was the bit of good news that came with the awful details of the charges against a New Hampshire man in a kidnapping case that gained national attention for a year.

The good news is that much of the news media (all New Hampshire media, as far as I know) have refrained from identifying the alleged victim in what may be one of the most horrific such cases in our state’s history.

The news media were in an unusual position. The case had started out as a missing child and every law enforcement agency from local to state to the FBI had asked for our help in publicizing the girl’s name and picture. Social media sites pitched in, too.

The girl’s return home was also a big story, along with the arrest of her alleged abductor. But when authorities developed their case, they realized its scope and they asked news media, including the Union Leader, to consider how to handle it. So far, the media are handling it well.

Another good story last week wasn’t in the paper but one told to me by a guy in a band.

The band was playing at a local veterans club and asked for requests.

“Yeah,’’ said a guy in the audience. “Play something you all know.’’

As my friend likes to say, ouch.

Later, the wise guy did request a particular tune and danced to it. But when only one other couple joined in, my friend took the mike and kidded the wise guy by saying, “OK, the rest of the wedding party can join in the dance now, too.’’

After the dance ended, Mr. Wise Guy (who is actually a good friend of the band man) came up to my friend and asked, “How did you know?’’

“Know what?’’ my friend asked.

Turns out, the male in the other couple that had joined in the dance had been Mr. Wise Guy’s best man at his wedding, about 50 years ago.

Back to the paper for my last good story of the week.

It’s the one about the despondent woman who jumped off the Granite Street Bridge the other day. She may easily have drowned in the frigid Merrimack River but instead she was helped ashore by a man whom fire officials described as a homeless guy who was living under the bridge.

They didn’t get the guy’s name, they said, because he disappeared into the crowd while they were busy getting the woman into an ambulance.

I bet I know his name. I bet it’s Clarence and I bet there was a bell ringing somewhere in Manchester that morning last week because another angel was getting his wings.

And that’s about as good a story as one can expect before Christmas.

Write to Joe McQuaid at or on Twitter @deucecrew.

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