With appropriately little fanfare, I marked my 19th anniversary with The Evening Sun this week. It seems like only yesterday I donned the only tie I owned and showed up 15 minutes early for work at our old Hale Street headquarters on a foggy September morning.
It would seem like yesterday, had I not been bombarded recently with reminders of the relentless passage of time. Exhibit No. 1: Remarking on my anniversary Wednesday, intrepid reporter Tyler Murphy calculated that he was 7 years old when I started work here. Assigned to Oxford as I was in my early days as a beat reporter, I no doubt passed little Tyler on the playground at some point as I covered an event at the primary school. Shoot me, now.
Exhibit No. 2: At a gathering of friends at my house over the weekend, one whom I had not seen in quite a while remarked at how good I looked. Always nice to hear, until she followed it up with, “And I love how you’ve let your hair go gray.” Gray? What on earth was she talking about?!? Apparently I’ve succumbed to the magic of the mirror in my bathroom which makes my coif appear eternally blond. It’s the same mirror, incidentally, that still shows me as having a 30-inch waist. Oh well ... as the Grateful Dead might say, a touch of gray kind of suits me anyway.
Exhibit No. 3: When Jessica Lewis told me that she was pregnant, and would leave The Evening Sun after giving birth to pursue her master’s degree, I apparently assumed she’d have the gestation period of an elephant. It was as if one day she shocked us all by not drinking at a Friday lunch, and the next she called in unexpectedly, informing me she’d given birth the night before. As a single man, I guess I’m still as baffled by the “how” of nativity as I am the “why.”
Jessica’s sudden departure (though we knew he was coming, little Braden was two weeks early) left me jokingly referring to this as the summer of my post-partum depression. Though we eventually got a proper goodbye (and like good Evening Sun reporters, she’ll never truly get the ink out of her blood), Jessica’s absence left us with a big hole in our staff to fill.
And who better to fill that big hole than the biggest reporter I know ... wait, I promised myself I wouldn’t do that this time ...
In all seriousness, it is with great pleasure that I announce here for the first time in print that Michael McGuire, my once and future reporter, will be re-joining The Evening Sun staff next week. We’re thrilled to welcome him back to his Norwich home after having spent a year or so in the wilds of New Orleans.
While I’m in the first quarter-century of my original life sentence at Chenango County’s Hometown Daily, Mike is a bit of a recidivist, as they’d say in the judicial system – we’ve paroled him twice, but his reoffenses have landed him back in our fray. Mike’s one of the best reporters I’ve had the pleasure of working with, and I know his return will be welcomed by our readers.
I’ve always looked at September as our own “back to school” time at The Evening Sun – a time to get back to the grindstone after summer vacations (and here’s my last jab, Jessica, at the fact that your pregnancy so rudely interrupted my Fridays off), refocus our priorities, and even try out a new feature or two. As much as I lament the fact that time marches on, I can’t wait to see what happens next.