After a little arm-twisting, it’s time to say farewell

So I’m tying up loose ends here in Demopolis, including transitioning my ownership share of The Watchman (which remains in excellent and capable hands, by the way), and Jeremy mentions the thing I hoped he would forget to ask.

“You’ve got to write a farewell column,” he asserted.

“But Jeremy, those things sometimes seemed forced, and they kind of fall flat when they do,” I said. “I don’t know.”

But J is persistent, to say the least. “Just tell when you came, how you’re different, what you’ll miss and what you’ve learned,” he said.

Okay, I came here in 1991. Now that was easy. So is how I’m different: less hair.

We need to camp out a little while on those other two, though.

What will I miss? A small sampling…

…hunting some of the best deer and turkey habitat to be found

…the whole Alabama-Auburn thing

…watching barges round that big bend in the Tombigbee River upon which the City of the People proudly sits

…the welcoming spirit I noticed my very first day here and have felt every day of the 24 years since

…working with Jan McDonald, a class act if there ever was one

…great neighbors up and down Mayton Avenue

…Thursday morning prayer breakfast at the hospital

…Jefferson Barbecue

…trips to UWA and working with the fine people over there

…those infrequent and informal Watchman pow-wows with Michael and Jeremy

…too many friendships to start throwing out names

…taking Rangeline Road to Linden and other points south where the people are as genuine as they come (I’m not sure a greater compliment can be paid a community)

…Bethel Baptist Association quarterly men’s meetings

…working with Marsha Pugh, another class act

…City Council executive sessions (wait, scratch that one!)

…singing with Tim Hall, Rob Pearson and Danny Wasson

…and Sweet Water football!

What I’ve learned. Hmmm. I’ve learned that…

…the people of Marengo County are a determined bunch who believe in community

…the folks around here truly care about each other, reaching out in ways you’d never expect and often in ways others never see

…people go nuts around here during football season. (I’d always heard that, but until you see it first-hand, you can’t understand)

…a trusty iPhone takes great photos (inside joke)

…patriotism is alive and well in this part of the country

…Marengo County – and there are no statistics to back this up – may just produce as much raw athletic talent per capita as any county in the nation

…a diverse community can forge unity and harmony

…they grow dang big alligators around here

…those who call Marengo County, Alabama home are truly blessed.