Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Columnist/reporter Wright retires -- wanna bet?

Ah, the grass is always greener…

Longtime reporter/columnist Donna Wright officially starts her retirement today: July 1, 2009. We published her farewell column yesterday, in the section she cherished most: Health & Fitness, formerly the WellBeing section. She wrote:

By the time this column appears in print, I shall be contemplating where to plant a crab apple tree at our cottage on an island in Indian Lake, Ohio. Then I will move on to the flower beds, where an invasion of wild violets has choked the Jack-in-the-pulpits and laid waste to the lilies of the valley.

In between chores, I will sit on the seawall chaise, drinking my morning coffee as I watch the giant blue herons soar over Orchard Island.

I shall be retired from the Bradenton Herald, starting a new adventure in the next phase of my life, but a piece of my heart remains behind, for I love my job which makes my decision bittersweet.

The responses from her fans -- and sometimes foes -- have been endearing. At the top of the list, however, is Donna's e-mail to me yesterday morning. The highlights, especially if you know Donna, should make you smile:
Hello Joan,

Well, instead of contemplating where to plant a crab apple tree, my Dad and I just finished cleaning out the utility room to make space for a new deep well pump so we can have water... Plumber has been here six times in one week...

The pace of life is so different. I didn't realize that it would be different from being on vacation at the lake. This is now it. Must admit the first week was hard. I really missed the hustle and bustle of work, and yes, even the pressure of deadlines. For a few days I was in a panic that my mind would turn to mush without the weight of deadlines making me exercise the brain cells.

But then I got my new laptop up and running with wireless and I have been reading the Herald, and lots of other papers, even contemplating trying to write some fiction...

But I still miss work. Got an email from Carl today, who said he was heading over to the court house for the hearing to set the Tallevast trial date. I felt envious...

Many of you emailed Donna and/or me about her retirement -- wishing her the best, but not willing to let go. I know that feeling all too well! Donna's prose will eventually be back in the Herald, I'm sure -- when the rules of retirement (both hers and corporate) allow. For now, though, let me share some of your well-wishes:

It was a surprise for me to read in today's Bradenton Herald of your retirement. Over the years I have enjoyed reading your articles and appreciating your special gift of compassion and empathy, no matter what the subject matter of your articles. You will be greatly missed.

A little over a year ago I retired as pastor of Kirkwood Presbyterian Church. So, I understand your decision. Time with family is precious, and I know you will enjoy the time you will be able to spend with your father.

I want to thank you for your spirit and your professionalism as a writer for
the Bradenton Herald.

Enjoy your retirement.

Rev. William Hull

Thanks, Donna for your "Good Bye" article, just another one which touched my heart very deeply. I am grateful for all the wonderful articles you wrote about Mary Delazzer and Our Daily Bread and The One Stop Center. I loved all those pieces you wrote but I also loved all of them. I am sorry for me and for hundreds of others who always looked forward to reading what you so beautifully wrote each week in The Herald, but I am happy for you and for your Dad that you made such a monumental decision to retire. Few people plan ahead and I agree with you that this is the time to smell the roses. We don't usually get a second chance to make important decisions like this one.

I wish you happiness in Ohio. I also have a fondness for Ohio having spent many years there. Perhaps when you return, you might consider a "guest article" just to keep your fans happy! Congratulations from one of your most loyal fans,

Ellie Hogan

I, for one, would love to hear of all your experiences there! I used to love reading one magazine article written every month by a woman who had retired with her sister to a New England state. It was wonderful reading of her thoughts on each month of living there. Your joys and laughter with your Dad, your replanting and all you do on the island would be nice. You could describe the sunsets, your thoughts, your Dads comments on life there, and so on. It would be a blast to read here in Bradenton! Please do!

Hi Donna,

I know you’ve met numerous people throughout your career and it’s hard to put a name with a face. When you arrive at United Way Manatee County, I am the first person you see. I even spoke to you during Share-A-Tree with United Way at Christmas Time.

You will be missed by people like myself, that enjoyed reading your articles. You have a god-gifted talent and compassion for the community of Manatee County. I wish you all the best. Enjoy the company of your dad… you are so lucky to have him and visa versa.

And enjoy your retirement. I’m envious!

Paula Delaney
Administrative Assistant
United Way of Manatee County

But that old saying of "When one door closes..." doesn't come close to applying to Donna here in Manatee County.

Donna, you always kept the door open for anyone who needed. And our door is always open to you.

-- Joan

(You, too, can contact Donna at this e-mail address:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Donna Jean, very best wishes to your in this "next phase." You were a jewel in high school -- smart, kind and considerate. From halfway around the world, I've seen a continuation of those traits in your wonderful/wonderous writings. Somehow, I missed the years you served in the Peace Corps, but that, too, seems "just right" for you. You remain the ideal. That Armstrong kid was great, but you have always been marvelous!