I’ve always been amazed at the sheer number of great writers and artists the Messenger has attracted over the years. It was apparent again last night at a little open house we had for contributors. There was John Stenback, the chef-turned-writer, talking about John Steinbeck, and Randy Christenson, who came with wife Dawn, and who shares an eerie resemblance to his cartoons, and Joe Fellegy, the thinking-man’s conservative, agreeing with Tom Bracken the thinking-main’s liberal. Art Carr came and presented a drawing to the Messenger as a house-warming gift, and Gail Kulick-Jackson was there with husband Paul and son Junior (as he’s known in her column, anyway). Tammy Enberg, the Messenger’s Erma Bombeck, shared funny stories about her kids that haven’t yet made it into her column, and Judy Cain came with her usual sense of humor lightly tinged with sarcasm. Linda Burch, our bear-hunting correspondent, brought party favors of fluorescent trail markers. Even Dennis Vanderpoel, yet another of the Mess’s own visual artists, made a rare appearance east of Onamia. Surrounded by so many good and smart and creative people — including our full-time staff members — I felt like the luckiest guy in town.