I was overwhelmed this morning to find tributes to me in my Bradenton Herald. This is the sort of treatment you're lucky to receive when you retire or -- gasp -- go to that great newsroom in the sky.
Joan, my boss, alter ego and trusted friend these past nine years, was the mastermind behind a full page dedicated to comments from current and former colleagues. (Well, I guess they're all former colleagues now. My position at the Herald was eliminated Monday and my last official day of work was Friday.)
I have no idea how she was able to track down old cohorts in places like Minneapolis, Sacramento, Atlanta, St. Louis and Washington, D.C., and then somehow convince them to write such nice things about me. She probably thought it was going to be easier than writing her Sunday column. I know it wasn't.
Vin Mannix also devoted his Sunday column to me, and several other members of the Herald newsroom weighed in on the tribute page.
I was preparing a batch of chili this morning when I stopped to read the Local section. I had no idea tears could sting so much, and the jalapeno peppers were only partly to blame.
Thank you all. I value my experiences with you, and have rich friendships and memories to keep me going well beyond my Herald career. You are the reason I was able to survive in this business 33 years.
Thanks also to readers and friends in the community who have called and emailed with good wishes. I will be calling or sending notes to all of you.
(And Mary K., I couldn't have found more appropriate lyrics than the ones you borrowed from "Blue Umbrella.'' I promise to play some John Prine one of these days...)