Bye, Y’all. It’s Been Great.

Back in the 1980s, I believe, when Dandy Don Meredith was a broadcaster for Monday Night Football, he would sing a neat song when the game got out of hand and was essentially over. The party’s over, he would sing, ending with “all good things must come to an end.”

And so, my friends must this column. I’ve been writing for the public since 1963, when I was a part-time reporter for the Associated Press in the summer between my junior and senior year at LSU. That’s 57 years ago now. And I think it’s time to put my “pen” down so to speak.

After graduation and a brief stint in the military reserves, I worked for the Zachary Plainsman newspaper for a while then began working for the New Orleans Times-Picayune in 1965. That was my sole employer until I retired at the end of 2005 and then moved to Natchitoches.

After I retired up here I began writing a column, similar to the one I have been doing for the Natchitoches Parish Journal, for a monthly publication in Jefferson Parish called the West Bank Beacon. Then, for a while I wrote for the Natchitoches Times and finally settled in at the NPJ, for which I have been writing for several years now.

The whole ride has been a great experience. I’ve covered everything from hurricanes in Louisiana to earthquakes in Central America, to murder trials to presidential visits in New Orleans to interviews with movie stars and, gosh, just a host of other neat events. I have landed on US Navy aircraft carriers, ridden in the back seat of Navy Blue Angel and Air Force Thunderbird demonstration team jet fighters, was tear gassed at civil rights marches in the 1960s and witnessed the aftermaths of plane crashes and auto fatalities.

When I started in journalism, I used manual typewriters, with carbon papers to make copies for the editors. Computers in the newsroom were completely unheard of. My starting pay in 1965 was $100 a week — $2.50 an hour. And, I could live on that!

But now, as you know if you have read much of what I have written for the NPJ, I’m now a full fledged geezer and I think it’s time to really retire from the craft of journalism.

To be honest, it was getting more and more difficult to come up with a good topic week after week after week. I did my best. You’ve read everything from tales of my boyhood to my opinions on present day politics. (I still think Trump is obnoxious and that the Democratic slate of candidates is made up of complete losers. But this is the last time you will see me write that.)

The thing is, there are only so many things an old guy can come up with every week of the year to keep his readers interested. And so, my friends, I will say goodbye. I sincerely hope you have somewhat enjoyed what I have written in these spaces, even if you disagreed with my politics. But it seems everybody is disagreeing with everybody else’s politics these days, doesn’t it?

I’ll still be around, of course, so if you see me on the street, say hello, if you wish. Till then, so long, adios, au revoir. Have a good one, as they say these days.

12 thoughts on “Bye, Y’all. It’s Been Great.

  1. Sure will miss your column! Will be like losing an old friend. Enjoyed reading your, especially your book that came in installments. Enjoy your retirement!!

  2. Joe, I feel cheated that I didn’t know what you were doing all these years and missed your stories. Will you send me a link? I will be hanging up my spurs very soon. Would love to cross paths again on one of my trips to Coushatta. Miss you! Kim McElwee

  3. Oh my, Joe. I can’t tell you how much I will miss reading your articles! Your stories and shares have felt like I was sitting on a porch, in a comfortable rocker with a glass of good ol’ iced tea and just listening to a great friend talking. Your amazing experiences and honestly have been so refreshing to observe through your wonderful writing — I will miss it tremendously, however I do believe that it’s a retirment from the craft well earned! I look forward to seeing you and Mary around town. Of all the wonderful articles you have written, Marcie and I can never find words to express how much it meant to us to write so beautifully about Mom’s memorial service — we have it printed and will treasure it forever! Thank you – thank you for loving our mom, thank you for sharing your world with us. Journey on and keep making memories!

  4. Be blessed in your retirement. Maybe one day you’ll find the need to express yourself again, and we will reap the benefits of that! Until then, we will miss reading your articles. Good night!

  5. Oh must you stop writing? I’ve enjoyed reading here. Thanks for your service and pray you decide to continue.

  6. I enjoy your column and hope you will be back eventually. You know what they say: “Old journalists never die. They just get de-pressed.” Ever thought about teaching?

  7. I’ve enjoyed your articles! Hope you come back one day with more….surely something soooo interesting will happen and you will realize that we need to know. You are so talented!

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