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.