Twenty years and 23 days ago, I walked into the Daily Journal to start a new job.

After a day of being introduced to just about every single person who worked in the building and watching a video on George McLean and his vision for this newspaper, I was led to a corner cubicle in the Living Department.

It’s been my work home ever since. Until now.

This is my last column in the Sunday Living section, and Halloween will be my final day at the word workshop.

I’ve decided to retire from this place I’ve loved for two decades. I won’t be heading for the house to rest in a rocker – I need and want to keep busy. So, I’ll be around.

I’d love to talk about my co-workers at this place, but I don’t have the space to name them all. Besides, they should already know what they mean to me.

Working here, especially in my earlier years, has been like hanging with family members – we’ve laughed, we’ve fussed, we’ve cried, we’ve worked, we’ve grieved, we’ve celebrated.

I’ll miss the everyday camaraderie with these folks but, like I said, I’ll be around.

Then there are the people who visit this space on Sundays. It’s you – the readers – who have made my time at this newspaper rich and rewarding.

Whether we admit it or not, every single one of us needs, from time to time, a small pat on the back or a soft round of applause just to validate what we do.

You have been my pat on the back. You have continued to make me feel that what I write in this little space once a week has some sort of value. And that means more to me than I could ever adequately express.

Through notes sent by email or the postal service, you’ve let me know when a column may have spoken to you personally. Some of you have shared your own stories with me and I treasure them.

You’ve approached me in stores or on the street or at events and told me how much you’ve appreciated my feeble attempt to brighten a small corner of my world each week.

You’ve fussed at me when my words have made you cry; through the years you’ve asked with sincere interest about my niece and my dogs; and on the occasions when I mounted my soapbox to hold forth on subjects about which I felt passionate, most of you kept on reading, even if we disagreed.

When this space housed words written just after my mama died, I was warmly wrapped in love and compassion through your acknowledgments.

A year and a half ago, when I took a forced “sabbatical,” the response of readers and friends in this town and beyond, astonished and awed me more than anything has before or will again. I can never thank you enough for your support.

It’s my hope those of you who still love to hold a newspaper in your hands will continue to read the Journal for years to come. There are some good writers here whose work I’ll continue to read with relish. If you would, give them a pat on the back from time to time.

And as for me, I’ll be around.

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