This is my final column for the Headliner News as printed in the Oct. 17, 2012 edition.
I don’t know where to begin, so I’ll begin with the end. After more than five years at the same desk, this is my final column for the Headliner News. I’ve accepted a position as features editor with the Springfield Business Journal and Oct. 19 is my last day.
SBJ is a new chapter in my story, a new challenge and a new opportunity, but one can’t look ahead without first looking back.
In the book of life, it’s not the destination, but the path you take along the way. The chapters I’ve written at the Headliner News have been some of the happiest in my life. I became a real reporter inside these walls, I grew up here, I met and married my best friend and I even taught Donna how to tweet. The events I’ve covered, the places I’ve gone and the people I’ve met made my decision all the more hard.
Change isn’t easy, but it’s necessary. Change makes us better, makes us fight and strive and become more than we ever knew we could be. Change makes the world better. But how do I even begin to say goodbye to this place and to these people who have given me so much?
I say goodbye, by saying thank you.
Thank you to people like Spokane teacher Cassandra Bray who I first met after she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She let me tell her story to the world, her struggles and her fight and she did it all with a smile.
Thank you to mom Sheri Smith who politely asked me if we would ever consider running her column on homeschool education and five years later has turned into some of my favorite Facebook posts to read as her family of eight travel the country in a RV learning life’s best lessons along the way.
Thank you to people like Ray Weter who made me smile each time I checked the mailbox to find a laminated newspaper clipping. My accomplishments and milestones still adorn our refrigerator thanks to his, and I suspect his wife Sheri’s, thoughtful letters.
Thank you to people like Circuit Clerk Barb Stillings who has become more than just a source, she has become my friend. I first met Barb at the front desk of the University of Missouri Extension Office and she was always there to answer any dumb, new-reporter question I had. I’ll miss our monthly lunch dates and I know she’ll miss my free iPhone advice.
I’ll miss walks around the square, the Ozark High School “He’s a Lady” pageant and the excitement on a students face when I take their picture, but most of all I’ll miss my newspaper family.
The Community Publishers team is a top-notch group of people in every way, from top to bottom, left to right and everywhere in between. In the Headliner News office, office manager Kim Bruce always made sure I had cake on my birthday and advertising director Tricia Chapman keeps the pages full of ads and never fails to look sassy in a pair of heels.
When my first general manager, Chuck Branch, left, I remember reading his final column. He too wrote of what he would miss and he wrote about his scarecrow. In “The Wizard of Oz” the scarecrow is the one Dorothy will miss most dearly. That sentiment came back to me as I announced my departure. My scarecrow isn’t a single person, but rather a group—the editorial staff at the Headliner News.
Donna, Amelia, Brady and Brett are not only my closest newspaper family, but my comrades, my partners in crime and most importantly my friends. I know without a shadow of a doubt I can rely on these four people to do their job like professionals every time. We’ve not only worked hard together, we’ve laughed, cried, celebrated and danced in the middle of the newsroom. Friends may part ways, but they never truly say goodbye.
I won’t forget where I’ve come from and I’ll never forget the people who love me. This isn’t goodbye Christian County, it’s just an until next time.
So, don’t worry Donna, “It’s gonna be good.”