Close to Nowhere
Continued from last week...
I did not cry at my retirement party! I was so proud of myself.
It was a wonderful party. The cake was beautiful and really tasted good. There were all types of goodies, including one of my favorites, Captain Rodney dip.
The very best thing was the people. When son Kris (who still does The South Reporter website) and I walked in, the first person I saw was editor and publisher Barry Burleson, walking toward me with his arms wide open. I figured if I didn’t cry then, I wasn’t going to. We all spent a good minute hugging. It was the first time I’d seen my work family in a long, long time. Barbara Taylor and I have worked together 33 years. She’s been at The South Reporter for 40 years now. Beth Breithaupt came to the paper in 1988. She took some time off for babies and then came back to us. Pam Burleson, the bookkeeper and fabulous snack maker, came to the paper a few months after Barry. She stayed behind in Laurel to sell their house, while Barry came up to be the editor 18 years ago. Barry hired Sue Watson not too long after he came – so we’ve all been together as family for a long time now.
I did miss two of our family members – Fred De-Bardeleben and Carolyn King. Carolyn, my neighbor and good friend, came to work with us just a month or so after I began working. Mr. Fred came some years later. He turned out to be the grandfather of my granddaughter Mere’s boon companion in crime, Grace (since they were 3 years old). Since Grace is a granddaughter of my heart, that made Mr. Fred and I related somehow. My heart sorely missed them.
And the people who came by! I was so happy to see so many friends and readers. Kris’s first teacher at Potts Camp, Mrs. Jamison (fourth grade), came by to see both of us. My friends at the Extension Service came and lots of people whom I’ve worked with over the years came by. Irene Stickland, daughter Dana and Kris’s home economics teacher at Potts Camp School, nearly made both of us cry, but we toughed it out.
I saw Lincoln and Queen Martin from South Center Printing; they are really a part of The South Reporter family, being next door neighbors and close working friends. Lincoln and Queen are also Laws Hill neighbors.
Daughter Dana, granddaughters Merideth and great-granddaughter Ruby June; Remy and husband Mitch all came. Mere’s husband Tim stayed home with Shepard, who drank an entire bottle of raspberry vinagrette and wasn’t feeling too spiffy.
My party was wonderful. I promised everyone who asked that I’ll keep writing my column. I think once you’ve worked at The South Reporter, that something infects you and you can never leave. Every one of us loves our paper and the work we do with and for our community.
As I was leaving we all hugged again. I have to say that Barry is a great hugger.
And I have to say “thank you” to everyone who came by. Thank you to everyone who has prayed for me during my health scares. Thank you for reading my column and telling me you like it.
From my heart – thank you! And I’ll be back next week.