If memory serves, and in this rare case, for me, it does, this particular edition of my column in The World is a very special one. The fact is, this writing marks a great demarcation, a stone-chiseled date, and a very important anniversary for me, if for no one else in the ‘world,’ so to speak. You see, this column is number five hundred and twenty, in what some may see as an effort to fill “the world” with my vast store of useless trivia and seemingly-limitless weird perspectives on the issues of life. In being column number five hundred twenty, this one marks the twentieth anniversary of this twice-monthly intrusion into the otherwise sane lives of the people who read what I write here.
What happened, those twenty years ago, is this. How it happened is in this way. Why it happened is simply due to the kind generosity and unmerited trust of my good friend, and this paper’s co-publisher, Gary Hass. You see, a few weeks before that infamous date those twenty years ago, Gary was in the department store I managed at the time, conversing, and negotiating with me on some advertising promotion or other, for the paper. I have no idea what the ad was about, but I am profoundly thankful that Gary was in the store that day. I had already been writing for years, having been published a few times since my high school days. But those times were infrequent, and there was something about opinion-piece writing that I just had to try. The allure of having a regular space to fill on the pages of a newspaper was simply irresistible to me.
On any normal day, if normal is even a word I should use, I would never have dared ask a newspaper owner to even read my work, much less to give me the chance to write for him. But, that day was different, because Gary was different. He was no cold-hearted news man; he was a friend, and a compassionate person who truly cares about his family, his employees, and his community. My small part in what took place that day was simply to ask the question. That question was just to inquire of this friend, whether it would be, or not be, possible for me to try writing for his paper. I felt totally unworthy of any positive response, and the answer I expected from Gary was not the answer I got. He simply said: “Yes.” He then told me to send something to the paper, and that he would give it a try. Wow!
You know, twenty years can be both a long time, and a short time. For me it seems like I have lived in this area forever… and I’m getting close to that being the truth. But it also seems like only yesterday that my older kids were young, and my younger kids were just arriving. (By the way, without a call from Gary one day, the adoptions of those two youngest children wouldn’t have happened at all. That is a story for another time.) It also seems like only yesterday that I mailed, to The World, that very first, typewriter-produced copy of my column.
If you are one who has followed this column for years, and have tolerated my feeble attempts to entertain and shed a little less-than-dazzling light on some subjects, I thank you for your support. I have confided in you, sharing everything from my slight insanity to my most heart-felt concerns. Please know that a person bares his soul in such a way, only to family. The great gift of spending these last twenty years with you has been a true blessing in my life. Thank you for the privilege, and…
Thank you, Gary!
“George’s World,” a new 740 page collection of George’s columns from The World, is available at xlibris.com, amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com and your favorite bookstore. “The Smoke And Mirrors Effect,” George’s first novel, can be seen at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com. Happy Reading!