Goodbye. So wrote Paul Dean when he left the Arizona Republic for a new job in San Diego and so begin I today. I was greatly impressed with that stand alone word, eloquent in its singularity, majestic and grandiose. As stately as an obelisk, it stood granite firm in its unequivocal declaration of finality. For Dean it was a new job. For me it is simply time to go.
I came to this page by invitation six years ago on this date. That makes an even five years, or 250 columns. It brings me satisfaction to know that I could contribute for so long. You can discuss a lot of ideas in five years — in fact, all of them. I have shared mine twice over with the help of imaginary friends and unexpected interjections. Maybe that’s why I was chosen in the first place, gifted with a peculiar style and a quirky sense of humor.
I greatly enjoyed the lighthearted beginning, reveling in entertainment and off-the-wall commentary. Eventually, though, a deep spirit of sobriety and an overpowering sense of responsibility came to the fore. Conjoined with a deep Christian faith, this page has become something of a ministry, possibly a bit too religious for some tastes. Nevertheless, I have been committed to writing truth, even if it did not mesh well with my “doctrine.” Not all of my offerings made print, having clashed with someone else’s sense of propriety. Well, that’s what editors are for!
My respect and admiration for The Daily News and its personnel is best described as “unbounded.” I am particularly impressed with the local writers, who give voice to our views and our concerns. Unlike the syndicated professionals, who write the same stylized stuff year after year, locals sometimes go off the beaten track. Less than professional journalists, they are imperfect — gloriously imperfect and, therefore, genuine. People like us blunder, but the wounds of a friend, says the Good Book, are delivered in good faith.
I was never shy about mentioning other local writers, mostly in the spirit of admiration. It doesn’t take much to recognize that other people are gifted. And what if I did tease some of them unwisely! I shouldn’t have, but I did, so I’ll offer a timid apology, especially to Maureen Saturday. She’s an excellent writer, but an irresistible target. I like Miss Elisabeth, too.
Like any other hanger on, I am reluctant to let go, but it is time — time to walk the lavender and green fields of northeast Belding, to feel the tall grass brushing my fingertips. It is time to wander the placid pathways of Lightning Bend park, to play hide and seek with my dog. We’ll challenge the tangled brier trails of North Belding game reserve until I turn west and walk into an orange sunset. Fair weather tomorrow. Fair weather beyond the veil. Time and illness are taking their toll.
I am gripped by the same feeling as when you take Doggie to the vet for the last time and come home without him. Part of my life will be gone, but I’ll heed the advice of the late Garry Moore. “Leave gracefully when you know it’s over,” he said. I’ll do exactly that, but only for as long as my fingers dance on the keyboard. Then I’ll push “send” and throw a tantrum.
My inclusion on this page has been the fulfillment of a dream, one nicely rounded in its beginning and end. I’ll share a secret, though. I feel “called” to another endeavor, still on this side of the veil. That having been said, I’ll return to the grandeur of a single word and its golden ring of finality. Goodbye.
But leave the light on for me “just in case.”