It was 19 years ago when I first saddled up and headed out onto the trail of writing a weekly column. Little did I know my writing would garner a posse of loyal readers. That was heady wine indeed, and more than a little humbling.
We chewed over just about every subject you could think of on the trail. Some were silly. Some were sad. A few by sheer luck turned out to be profound.
We walked through the harsh austerity of the Great Depression. We prayed, wept and rejoiced together during four years of a bitter world war. And then we rolled up our sleeves and got to work building a brighter future for our own children and grandchildren.
I led you through the uncertain and often fickle canyons of carpentry as I described in sometimes painful detail what it was like to build an addition on my house. I’m sure you also rejoiced with me – as did my long-suffering wife – when after eight long years, I declared the project finished.
There have been very few periods in my life when I didn’t have a dog, and I told you about some of the most remarkable and infuriating ones that have graced my life. I told you about friends and relatives, people I chanced to meet and others I simply heard about.
Once,a friend bought an aging sailboat in Key West, Fla., and we spent seven years dutifully bringing her back to seaworthy shape. I told you all about her and about that wonderful, crazy place that is Key West.
We rode together a long time. Then, after 17 years, I stopped writing and hung up the bridle. But now there is a new newspaper in town, and I just realized there are a few stories you haven’t heard yet. So, mount up, pardner, and let’s hit the trail.