A few notes about the good old days

It seems a bit weird to be contemplating retirement, but I am. After over 40 years in the business, more or less, I’m going to retire at the end of the month.

The line from Monty Python and the Holy Grail keeps running through my mind, “I’m not dead, yet.”by: SELF-PORTRAIT - Sports Editor John Brewington

Of course, the other line I keep hearing is from the Lewis Carroll poem, The Walrus and the Carpenter.

“The time has come,” the Walrus said, “To speak of many things, Of shoes—and ships—and sealing- wax—Of cabbages—and kings. And why the sea is boiling hot—And whether pigs have wings.”

It’s not really relevant to anything, but I always liked it.

This probably won’t be my last column, but it could be one of them. We have a new sports editor coming in Monday. I’ll stick around to help him get up to speed, but I’m not sure how up to speed I am myself. I will help with our biggest publication, our Fall Sports Preview at the end of the month.

I’ll also probably be around taking pictures now and then, maybe doing an occasional column, and writing a story or two.

I still enjoy what I’m doing at the newspaper, but getting road weary from all the events that go on sometimes six days a week.

I started writing a column when I began working at another local paper back in 1973. I’ve written hundreds since then.

Much to the chagrin of my lovely wife, Cynthia, and our daughter, Katie, I’ve often used them and things that have happened that involved them as a source of inspiration. I don’t think they particularly enjoy it when I do mention them, but they have gotten used to it over the years. I’m used to the rolled eyes and shoulder shrugs.

That’s what I like about being in a small community. I can write a column and have a dialogue about it later. When columns are liked, I often hear from friends and family far away. I also hear when columns are not particularly well received, but I don’t mind a discussion.

Those I’ve told I’m retiring have been quite kind and many have said they enjoy my writing and how I’ll be missed.

I have to admit I’ve had reservations over the last couple of months about retiring. I was supposed to leave originally on June 28, but things dragged and it took some time to find a suitable replacement candidate.

I though at one point about changing my mind, but that time has come and gone.

Retirement is a big change for us old folks. We get in a habit of doing things a certain way and it throws our circadian rhythms out of kilter.

Mine went a little out of whack when we changed from a Wednesday to a Friday publication date. Don’t get me wrong, I like publishing on Fridays, but it just threw my schedule into chaos.

I still occasionally start thinking on the weekend what I have to do on Monday to get the next paper out and then remember Mondays are not that big a deal anymore. It doesn’t mean I skip weekend events, but I’ve started to view them differently.

When I first started working here, we had to put out two newspapers a week. I was filling about 10 pages a week at times and that’s a heavy load. Remember, we used manual typewriters in those days and all copy went to a typesetter. There were no computers, although the headline writing machine had a small bit of one in it.

Times certainly have changed. Cell phones would have made calling in away games in those days much simpler. We had to stop and use a pay phone. The staff marveled at how fast electric typewriters were when we got them, but we had to have a copy editor hand mark up copy before it was typeset and a proofreader afterwards. We still read copy, but do it on a computer.

Photography involved film and using chemicals to process it. I still bear some of the scars. Digital photography is so much easier.

And there’s the Internet that you can use to verify you’re using the right words and references. It’s all much faster.

My first boss started on a linotype machine, a machine that used hot lead to make type. He had a few burn scars himself.

Things will continue to change and I’ll keep trying to adapt, seemingly always a step or two behind.

I have a reporter’s natural skepticism about things, including about some new technology. I like to see it work awhile before jumping on board—2.0 or 3.0 is usually better than 1.0. Eventually, the kinks get worked out.

So, the bottom line is I’m still going to land a hand now and again, but not go through the daily grind.

Next week, I have a few people I want to thank for their help over the years.

Contract Publishing

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