Source: USA TODAY
I always knew this day would come. Just not quite this soon.
The paper recently made senior staff members an offer many of us could not refuse. A buyout. Yes, they pay you to go away. Not a bad deal. I took it. This is my last column.
It feels strange writing that last sentence, but it’s true. After spending Wednesday mornings with thousands of you for more than 16 years, this is my final word. Literally.
The decision comes with more emotion than I can describe. Bittersweet is a good word. Sadness another. But it’s also exhilarating because a new adventure is right around the corner. What? I don’t have a clue. That’s why they call it an adventure.
I’m taking the summer off, so if anyone wants to take me to lunch or, better yet, to the beach, I’m free as a bird and will consider all offers. I’ve never had a summer off, so I’m not quite sure what I’m supposed to do. Come fall, I’ll fire up the computer again and see what happens.
What I’ll miss most is all of you who wrote me over the years. I still have stacks of your e-mails filled with kind words, e-mails I can’t bring myself to discard just yet. Many of you became friends. I had dinner with a couple from Omaha just the other night. We toasted our long-distance, longtime Wednesday morning friendship.
I’ll even miss those of you who wrote to tell me you couldn’t believe USA TODAY actually paid me to write “such drivel,” as someone once called my musings. Dog haters also wrote in telling me to stop writing about my “stupid dog,” missives I never shared with Maggie.
And some of you were offended by the fact I wrote so openly about my longtime partner, Jack. I have no regrets. It was my little contribution to the cause.
But the column was never political. It was just a slice of life — my love of outdoor showers, a good snowstorm, and screen doors that slam shut on warm summer nights.
I always thought of the column as a weekly postcard from a friend. Hey, what’s up? Can you believe those people down the street still have their Christmas tree up? And you all know by now not to get me going on cellphones and the people who fiddle with them under the table during dinner. But enough.
It was a pleasure and a privilege to have this space to chat with you every week. Thanks for stopping by.