For the last time

So long, farewell, Auf wiedersehen, goodbye.

I’m writing my last column as an the Lifestyles Editor here at The Times Leader and it is with a very heavy heart that I do so.

This place and I hooked up about 3 1/2 years ago and it has been one of the best experiences in my life.

My “newspapering” story isn’t glamourous, it isn’t heart stopping, heck it isn’t even something to boast about. I just did a job that providing lots of fun and enjoyment.

My story started out about 25 years ago when I took a job with a weekly newspaper in Harrison County never imaging that I would fall so hard in love with this business. It really does “get in your blood.”

I literally started at the bottom because that first job was in the basement … doing paste-up the old-fashion way. We had weapons back then … Exact-o knives and scissors. We also had hot wax and border tape, big imposing light tables and looming deadlines. It’s a wonder we survived.

In addition to my paste-up duties, I was also lucky enough to get to work in the darkroom. I’ll never really know how I managed to snag that job but it was one I enjoyed. I loved to process the film and work that big old dinosaur of a camera in the darkroom that was also located in the basement but in one of the way-back-there-outta-site corners where a person could hide for a few minutes. And it was cool and quiet there. You could eat your lunch without even having to answer the phone!

After a few years on the lower level I eventually made my way into the newsroom, first as a type setter than as a writer and photographer.

I left that publication for other jobs in other fields but kept returning because I just loved working in this industry. I eventually made my way to The Times Leader where today, I again hang up my newspaper hat.

It was a tough decision to make … my leaving here for a government job but, as the saying goes, I ain’t getting no younger!

As I recall my first days here at the TL it is with a fondness that I will cherish for years to come. For the first 2 1/2 years I pretty much just roamed the hills of Harrison and Belmont counties covering whatever kind of news was happening at the time.

In July of last year I became a full-time in the office editor following the death Patricia Graham who had served as the Lifestyle Editor for several years. Still to this day her presence is missed in the newsroom.

Driving to Martins Ferry from the Cadiz area everyday hadn’t originally been in my plans but I’m glad I was able to attempt to fill Trish’s shoes.

It’s been fun here. I’ve made some wonderful friendships not only in the office but out in the public as well.

And now I’ve reached a point where I would be remiss if I didn’t give a some special thanks to some very special people.

First, I must thank my publisher Lori Figurski who has put faith in me on several occasions. She has trusted me to organize the holiday bake-off, put together bridal and holiday sections and to lead a department that actually had to lead me through those first trying days! I hope I didn’t disappoint and will so miss all those leftovers your husband would send our way!

This place has one of the finest managing editors around … Bubba Kapral. He is the best of the best and offered me a job that I knew I would love from the beginning. He is the kind of leader every employee dreams of … do your job and do it well. That’s all he expects.

I also thank my news editor Eric Ayres for putting up with me and hope that he realizes I wasn’t always serious when I threatened to leave … well, until now!

To my fellow Taste Bud, sweet (yet annoying) Bud Em, I’ll miss totting your fanny-britches around the Ohio Valley and enjoying our little getaways! Don’t forget: I still want to go to Robinson Town Center and, of course, I’ll drive!

I’m also going to miss lunches in the office with “Frugal” Betty and “Helpful” Debbie. The conversations were fun, the camaraderie even better. (My day was never complete until Betty called me a smart alec!)

I’ll miss Mike Palmer’s quirkiness, Stan’s ability to put a paper together without breaking a sweat and the two other Mikes who are usually quiet as little church mice but are known to stir the pot on occasion … but only when it needs to be stirred!

And, in case you all haven’t noticed, The TL is blessed to have the best sports department around. You guys have what it takes!

It’s hard to walk away from a place where everyone has become a friend. From the newsroom to advertising to accounting and beyond, I’ve enjoyed working with all of you.

I’ve also enjoyed meeting and hearing from our readers. Even though I?have never met many of you I feel like I’ve known you forever!

I still hope to keep my fingers nimble by writing a story or two every once in a while. I think I might just keep my trigger finger happy too by snapping some photos now and again.

Until then, I leave and heave a sigh and say goodbye!