Old School: Nothing but much adieu
During the past few weeks I have been spending a little more time in my office than I had in the previous three months.
No, I am not transitioning away from my remote location.
I am, however, making a change.
Perhaps you have heard through the rumor mill that things are going to be different at the Redwood Gazette very soon.
That rumor is true – at least as it relates to me.
The reason I was spending more time in my office was that I was doing some cleaning, and in the midst of that cleaning I have had the opportunity to get a little nostalgic.
I have also learned a little bit about myself – I am more of a hoarder than I ever imagined.
Cleaning the drawers in my desk (there are only two of them) filled an entire storage tub, and as each item was pulled the story of why I kept it quickly came back. (That is probably why I have been spending so many days in the cleaning process.)
On the top of my desk there are a few items which I have collected, but one of them would be considered the elder statesman of the menagerie.
In fact, it is one of the very first items I received more than two decades ago.
Let me tell you the tale of my pen holder…
One day as I was seated at my desk busily working, a familiar face entered through the doors of the old Gazette office on Second Street.
Ben Broberg walked to my desk and held out his hand. In it was a small piece of wood still donning its bark.
I took it from him, wondering what this was all about.
Knowing Ben was a teacher, I wondered if there was some lesson coming about a particular type of tree which was growing in the area. The hole in the middle of that piece of wood quickly told a different story.
This was a gift for me from Ben.
That piece of wood held a prominent place on my desk.
Sadly, Ben passed away not that long ago, and because of this rotten pandemic I was not able to pay my respects the way I wanted to.
Into the tub that piece went, as did a brick I collected when the old Redwood County jail was razed.
In the drawers were other things I had not seen in years, including some old (relatively speaking of course) buttons from the Redwood County Fair.
There were so many pens, pencils and markers in the drawer, and most of them did not work anymore.
So many of those pens have been there to help tell the stories of this community, and several others have been my companion at county, city and school board meetings – often playing the role of boredom breaker (aka the doodle stick.)
There is a pile of notes I have been collecting from people over the years – these are “thank you’’ letters and words of encouragement from people like you.
So, if you haven’t figured it out yet, my time at the Redwood Gazette is coming to an end.
In fact, that time ends this week.
I could list more than a few reasons why I have made this decision, but in the end I just felt that it was time. (Yes, you can take a moment to cheer loudly now. I will wait.)
I want to take a moment to just say what a privilege it has been for me to serve you since I started in 1997.
I have mostly enjoyed the experience.
There have been times when I have loved what I do, and there are times when I wished I was about as far away from this community as I could be.
I am going to miss the chance to meet with you every Monday and Thursday.
I think the thing I am most proud of is in the 15 years of being the editor I never missed a deadline.
I will not miss those heartbreaking stories of loss. The tears shed on my desk will not be coming with me.
I know not all of you have appreciated the things I have done, and I know many mistakes have been made.
Yet, in the end this community was my priority, and I did my best to focus on things most important to the success of any community – faith and family.
Just remember, if you forget everything else, that I love all of you, and Jesus does, too.