Clairmont podcast: Big, boisterous Bosma family shares a sweet, mischievous moment with local media

News Mar 31, 2016 by Susan Clairmont The Hamilton Spectator

Who knew one (horrid) piece of salted licorice could cause such a kerfuffle in the middle of a murder trial?

If you follow me on Twitter, you already know what I'm talking about — The Droppie.

But let me give you some context. 

The small group of Hamilton journalists covering the Tim Bosma murder trial have been in the courtroom virtually every single minute of the trial since it began on Feb. 1. Most of us have covered the case since it began nearly three years ago.

We know the big, boisterous Bosma family. And — this may come as a surprise — we have a warm, lovely, respectful relationship with them. 

Each morning at the courthouse I get a big hug from the Bosma Army, as they call themselves. Some days I join them for prayers. I have cried with them in the hallways. But more often I laugh with them.

Sometimes we talk about the trial. Tim took two men for a test drive of his truck on May 6, 2013, and never came home to his wife and daughter. Dellen Millard and Mark Smich are on trial for his first-degree murder.

More often we talk about anything but the trial. Those chats remind us of the joy in life. The kindness of people. 

And there is food. Friends from church keep the Bosma Army well-supplied with lunches and snacks to get them through long days at court. They, in turn, feed me. A bit of zucchini bread here, a cookie there. Food, even in a courthouse hallway, can comfort.

So. The Droppies.

I had heard much about the delicacies of the Bosmas' Dutch heritage. On Tuesday, a family member thrust a tiny package into my hand with a sticky note attached: "Share and enjoy (But do so at own risk)." 

A roll of Droppies. Salted black licorice.

I passed them out to my colleagues and we popped them into our mouths. I'm sure our expressions were priceless. I don't think Adam Carter from CBC Hamilton managed to swallow his. Lisa Hepfner from CHCH began rummaging in her bag for mints, gum … anything.

I ate mine and hated it.

The Bosmas howled. Even inside the courtroom they were stifling laughter.

I tweeted: "The #Bosma family had a good laugh at the media's expense today. Gave us a roll of "Droppies." Dutch salted licorice. An acquired taste."

Twitter is a weird thing. I have tweeted hundreds (maybe by now thousands) of times from the trial. Nothing has been shared more than my Droppies tweet, to the delight of the Bosmas.

Followers debated the sins and virtues of the Droppie. 

"A Dutch Vegemite candy," said one hater. "Like chewing on a salted fan belt. Only worse," offered another.

On the other side, there was "Droppies rock!" and many fond memories from those who savour the treat at church. "Dutch CRC folk have a Pavlovian response to sitting on hard wooden benches. We eat a Droppie. Every time."

The prank had the Bosmas in good spirits all day. And it wasn't over yet. On Wednesday, they gave me a new batch.

I tweeted: "BREAKING — I ate the double salted Droppie. For real." 

It was twice as bad as the first one.

But in the Twitterverse there is always a backlash.

One person said my Droppie commentary was "inappropriate" and demanded I "focus on the trial."

Another said: "Not angst lighter moment w family. Keep it between u and the family to avoid the inevitable cuteness."

And it went downhill from there.

Most people understood the Droppie was about so much more. About respect between the Bosmas and the media. About being human in the midst of a monstrous tragedy.

One woman tweeted it so well: "Silly people. It brings some relief in following this trial, knowing that the fam(ily) is able to find small joys."

And consider the terrible Droppie itself. The sweetness and the saltiness of it. Isn't that what life is? The joy and the tears? 

I hear there are triple-salted Droppies. Bring them on. 

Susan Clairmont’s commentary appears regularly in The Spectator. sclairmont@thespec.com

905-526-3539 | @susanclairmont

Clairmont podcast: Big, boisterous Bosma family shares a sweet, mischievous moment with local media

News Mar 31, 2016 by Susan Clairmont The Hamilton Spectator

Who knew one (horrid) piece of salted licorice could cause such a kerfuffle in the middle of a murder trial?

If you follow me on Twitter, you already know what I'm talking about — The Droppie.

But let me give you some context. 

The small group of Hamilton journalists covering the Tim Bosma murder trial have been in the courtroom virtually every single minute of the trial since it began on Feb. 1. Most of us have covered the case since it began nearly three years ago.

We know the big, boisterous Bosma family. And — this may come as a surprise — we have a warm, lovely, respectful relationship with them. 

Each morning at the courthouse I get a big hug from the Bosma Army, as they call themselves. Some days I join them for prayers. I have cried with them in the hallways. But more often I laugh with them.

Sometimes we talk about the trial. Tim took two men for a test drive of his truck on May 6, 2013, and never came home to his wife and daughter. Dellen Millard and Mark Smich are on trial for his first-degree murder.

More often we talk about anything but the trial. Those chats remind us of the joy in life. The kindness of people. 

And there is food. Friends from church keep the Bosma Army well-supplied with lunches and snacks to get them through long days at court. They, in turn, feed me. A bit of zucchini bread here, a cookie there. Food, even in a courthouse hallway, can comfort.

So. The Droppies.

I had heard much about the delicacies of the Bosmas' Dutch heritage. On Tuesday, a family member thrust a tiny package into my hand with a sticky note attached: "Share and enjoy (But do so at own risk)." 

A roll of Droppies. Salted black licorice.

I passed them out to my colleagues and we popped them into our mouths. I'm sure our expressions were priceless. I don't think Adam Carter from CBC Hamilton managed to swallow his. Lisa Hepfner from CHCH began rummaging in her bag for mints, gum … anything.

I ate mine and hated it.

The Bosmas howled. Even inside the courtroom they were stifling laughter.

I tweeted: "The #Bosma family had a good laugh at the media's expense today. Gave us a roll of "Droppies." Dutch salted licorice. An acquired taste."

Twitter is a weird thing. I have tweeted hundreds (maybe by now thousands) of times from the trial. Nothing has been shared more than my Droppies tweet, to the delight of the Bosmas.

Followers debated the sins and virtues of the Droppie. 

"A Dutch Vegemite candy," said one hater. "Like chewing on a salted fan belt. Only worse," offered another.

On the other side, there was "Droppies rock!" and many fond memories from those who savour the treat at church. "Dutch CRC folk have a Pavlovian response to sitting on hard wooden benches. We eat a Droppie. Every time."

The prank had the Bosmas in good spirits all day. And it wasn't over yet. On Wednesday, they gave me a new batch.

I tweeted: "BREAKING — I ate the double salted Droppie. For real." 

It was twice as bad as the first one.

But in the Twitterverse there is always a backlash.

One person said my Droppie commentary was "inappropriate" and demanded I "focus on the trial."

Another said: "Not angst lighter moment w family. Keep it between u and the family to avoid the inevitable cuteness."

And it went downhill from there.

Most people understood the Droppie was about so much more. About respect between the Bosmas and the media. About being human in the midst of a monstrous tragedy.

One woman tweeted it so well: "Silly people. It brings some relief in following this trial, knowing that the fam(ily) is able to find small joys."

And consider the terrible Droppie itself. The sweetness and the saltiness of it. Isn't that what life is? The joy and the tears? 

I hear there are triple-salted Droppies. Bring them on. 

Susan Clairmont’s commentary appears regularly in The Spectator. sclairmont@thespec.com

905-526-3539 | @susanclairmont

Clairmont podcast: Big, boisterous Bosma family shares a sweet, mischievous moment with local media

News Mar 31, 2016 by Susan Clairmont The Hamilton Spectator

Who knew one (horrid) piece of salted licorice could cause such a kerfuffle in the middle of a murder trial?

If you follow me on Twitter, you already know what I'm talking about — The Droppie.

But let me give you some context. 

The small group of Hamilton journalists covering the Tim Bosma murder trial have been in the courtroom virtually every single minute of the trial since it began on Feb. 1. Most of us have covered the case since it began nearly three years ago.

We know the big, boisterous Bosma family. And — this may come as a surprise — we have a warm, lovely, respectful relationship with them. 

Each morning at the courthouse I get a big hug from the Bosma Army, as they call themselves. Some days I join them for prayers. I have cried with them in the hallways. But more often I laugh with them.

Sometimes we talk about the trial. Tim took two men for a test drive of his truck on May 6, 2013, and never came home to his wife and daughter. Dellen Millard and Mark Smich are on trial for his first-degree murder.

More often we talk about anything but the trial. Those chats remind us of the joy in life. The kindness of people. 

And there is food. Friends from church keep the Bosma Army well-supplied with lunches and snacks to get them through long days at court. They, in turn, feed me. A bit of zucchini bread here, a cookie there. Food, even in a courthouse hallway, can comfort.

So. The Droppies.

I had heard much about the delicacies of the Bosmas' Dutch heritage. On Tuesday, a family member thrust a tiny package into my hand with a sticky note attached: "Share and enjoy (But do so at own risk)." 

A roll of Droppies. Salted black licorice.

I passed them out to my colleagues and we popped them into our mouths. I'm sure our expressions were priceless. I don't think Adam Carter from CBC Hamilton managed to swallow his. Lisa Hepfner from CHCH began rummaging in her bag for mints, gum … anything.

I ate mine and hated it.

The Bosmas howled. Even inside the courtroom they were stifling laughter.

I tweeted: "The #Bosma family had a good laugh at the media's expense today. Gave us a roll of "Droppies." Dutch salted licorice. An acquired taste."

Twitter is a weird thing. I have tweeted hundreds (maybe by now thousands) of times from the trial. Nothing has been shared more than my Droppies tweet, to the delight of the Bosmas.

Followers debated the sins and virtues of the Droppie. 

"A Dutch Vegemite candy," said one hater. "Like chewing on a salted fan belt. Only worse," offered another.

On the other side, there was "Droppies rock!" and many fond memories from those who savour the treat at church. "Dutch CRC folk have a Pavlovian response to sitting on hard wooden benches. We eat a Droppie. Every time."

The prank had the Bosmas in good spirits all day. And it wasn't over yet. On Wednesday, they gave me a new batch.

I tweeted: "BREAKING — I ate the double salted Droppie. For real." 

It was twice as bad as the first one.

But in the Twitterverse there is always a backlash.

One person said my Droppie commentary was "inappropriate" and demanded I "focus on the trial."

Another said: "Not angst lighter moment w family. Keep it between u and the family to avoid the inevitable cuteness."

And it went downhill from there.

Most people understood the Droppie was about so much more. About respect between the Bosmas and the media. About being human in the midst of a monstrous tragedy.

One woman tweeted it so well: "Silly people. It brings some relief in following this trial, knowing that the fam(ily) is able to find small joys."

And consider the terrible Droppie itself. The sweetness and the saltiness of it. Isn't that what life is? The joy and the tears? 

I hear there are triple-salted Droppies. Bring them on. 

Susan Clairmont’s commentary appears regularly in The Spectator. sclairmont@thespec.com

905-526-3539 | @susanclairmont