I'M Gone, But You Won't Be Forgotten

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Sadness and excitement compete today as I willfully romp into my self-employed mother's worst nightmare trading a good job with health and retirement benefits for fun, frolic and artistic freedom.

Mothers across the globe, I'm sure, are uniting in disapproval.

Parental hand-wringing aside, it's the goodbyes and the little things that mark this day with melancholy.

I'll miss, for example, the sweet-faced ladies of my grandmother's bridge club who muscle two tables away from the off-track gamblers at Mario's every Thursday to play cards and tell off-color jokes amid the smokey din of televised horse betting.

I'll miss hot tips and good news days and the sound of the presses as they start to roll. I'll miss looking out my office window and watching people read the Roundup cover to cover in the front seats of their cars.

I'll miss the privilege of telling the stories of my hometown and the colorful characters who make it a lively place to live.

I'll miss my favorite storyteller, my sweet and often politically cantankerous grandmother, Rim Review columnist Kay Loftfield.

And I'll miss with an ache that radiates from my solar plexus my friends and colleagues who helped me succeed where I otherwise might have failed, to excel beyond my wildest dreams and have a truly great time doing it.

I will keep you all close to my heart, so I will never feel far from home.

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