I’ve always said the first couple of paragraphs of any story, column or feature story are the hardest. Once you get past that, the words seem to flow from your fingertips.
I’ve been staring at a blank screen for days trying to figure out a way to start this column. So here goes.
My current employer offered me a new job a few days after Labor Day. It’s a great opportunity, but it meant moving to Missouri. I would be a part of a management team that would help oversee several newspapers, with my main responsibilities being publisher of the Poplar Bluff Daily American Republic, Dexter Statesman, Doniphan Prospect News, and Puxico Press.
I would be based in Poplar Bluff, a city the size of Vincennes, in southern Missouri not too far from the Arkansas border.
Deb and I visited Poplar Bluff in mid-September, and after many (and I mean many) hours of discussion and figuring out what we wanted to do, I said yes to the position late last month.
I begin my new job on Nov. 1, and Deb will remain here and teach at White River Valley-Worthington Elementary School through the end of the semester before joining me in Poplar Bluff.
This was truly a “team decision,” because Deb loves her job at Worthington. She thoroughly enjoys her partner in the classroom, Debbie Bender, her principal, Jill Staggs, and all the teachers and other personnel at the school.
It’s truly a family atmosphere at WRV and I couldn’t (and wouldn’t!!!!) say yes without her approval. If she said no, we wouldn’t be making this move.
The same goes for my work with the newspaper. I enjoy coming to work every day with some folks I’ve known for a very long time. And since adding the title of publisher several years ago, I can say the same for the papers at Brazil and Greencastle.
But there was something — or someone — who kept tapping us on the shoulder encouraging us to try something new. We’re both in our 50s (I’m much closer to 60), and uprooting and changing our lives isn’t something we anticipated. We would have bet our life savings we would both retire from our current jobs and live the rest of our lives watching beautiful sunsets on the farm.
But that feeling of someone challenging us kept creeping into our heads throughout the decision process. Without getting deeply spiritual, Deb and I believe God wants us to go forward with this challenge. We have no idea what it is yet, but we’ve prayed for guidance and for Him to open our eyes.
I will remain publisher of the Greene County Daily World, The Brazil Times, and Banner Graphic (Greencastle) at least through the end of 2019. That means I will be back from time to time, but my general managers at each property will handle the day-to-day duties. The majority of my duties with the Indiana papers will be accomplished long-distance.
The move means we will be farther away from family and must leave our beloved farmhouse. But it’s only temporary. We will retire in that farmhouse and hopefully spend many happy years there watching those incredible sunsets.
This isn’t retirement, so I won’t go into the many memories I’ve gathered in Greene County since Ron Dietz hired me at the former Linton Daily Citizen in 1983. A lot has changed at your local newspaper since then and in the newspaper industry in general.
We’ve had too many stories over the past year or two about businesses closing. I certainly don’t want to blame the consumers for not supporting those businesses, but that played a part. The same can be said about your newspaper. We need your support to continue providing local news, sports and advertising. Without that support (from both readers and advertisers), who knows what might happen.
A lot of good people produce the Greene County Daily World, and they love what they do. They live in our community and care about their community. I know because I’ve witnessed it for years.
This isn’t goodbye for Deb and I because we will be back. Retirement isn’t that far off.
Thank you Greene County for allowing us to be a part of something special.
Chris can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.