On a personal note, my eldest son just married a local girl, passed the bar, and put out his shingle. He will take over the house where he was raised. It is as much his town as mine, such that now it is time for him to leave his unique imprint on the place and not have his old man shooting thunderbolts into local conversations from a mountain range away. I should be gracious enough to let him emerge with his own voice.
Among the many gifts this weekly column has given to me is the chance to experiment with writing, to take my chances and look for some harmony between style and content. Often, it didn’t work, as my good wife sweetly pointed out now and then. On occasion, I felt as though I got carried away. But every so often, I felt good about my prose. And I was proud of the fact that I never repeated a column; each one was an original.
The ultimate judge, of course, has been you, the reader, who has been on my mind each time I wrote. I imagined you. I wondered whether you even read my column, but that if you had, did you find it provocative and even sometimes persuasive? And did you laugh at the lines that made me giggle when I wrote them?
It was not uncommon for me to rush in to look for Karin so I could share my latest effort with her, almost as though I had found the brightest red leaf under the maple tree. She never gushed. Occasionally, she corrected my grammar. But she helped me immeasurably as a sounding board through the years, so I owe her public thanks. I love you, Karin.
It is strange that after literally hundreds of short compositions, all saved somewhere on my computer, I do not feel any grief as it comes to an end. Maybe that’s a good sign. You have work to do. So do I. Let us each turn to the work that awaits us, now that this work is done.
Blessings be on the people of Decatur County. May you all flourish. And please, look after my children in that community we shared for eighteen years.