Vail Daily column: Where did the time go?
You’ll have to indulge me even more than usual today. I have an anniversary to celebrate: My 15th November at the Daily.
Plenty has changed in our world since landing here the day before Election Day 1999. I had brown hair, for one.
Back then, my daughter fished for quarters out of my desk first thing when visiting with her brother and giggled with her friends in Coach E’s PE class when Dad showed up a little early at her elementary school for noon pickup basketball.
Now she’s a college grad contemplating her own twists and turns to come. None include journalism, she declares to my disappointment. Not for any lack of talent, either. That girl easily is the best pure writer in the family.
Her big brother was one of those preteen goofballs whom staffers felt compelled to eject from the office within five minutes and lock the doors on Saturdays when he came in with me.
In time, he calmed down enough to help out. The copy editors loved to see him, too. “Hey, Ben!” And they’d give him the Town Talk pages and the weather back when we put the package together, bit by bit, by hand. He hates both features to this day.
Now he runs his own paper in Grand Junction. Colleagues like to mention that he’s a natural, a lot better at it than the old man, who likely as not will work for the kid someday. Meantime, I’m madly searching my memory banks for any scarring experiences I might have inflicted.
There remain a couple of familiar faces at the office from the beginning: Sports Editor Chris Freud and ace writer Randy Wyrick, whose daughter grew up with my daughter and graduated from Eagle Valley High at the same time.
It turns out that Freud grew up with my L.A. Dodgers’ nemesis, the Giants, who have taken to winning the World Series way too regularly of late. These past several even-numbered years have been hell.
And there’s Bob Brown, president of our parent company, who hired me as managing editor while publisher at the Vail Daily. He warns me from time to time that my current job was his favorite by far.
I won’t pretend publisher is my favorite. But I know exactly why Bob misses it. There may be no more engaging a role in our community than this one. And I’ve learned so much more about life and business than I ever could as editor since taking on this position when the Great Recession struck.
Besides, our editor, Ed Stoner, far surpasses me in that job. I’m not being humble. Just the truth.
My, they’re coming up fast on all sides now. And it ain’t like I’ve been standing still. I’m smarter and wiser, if not better lookin’, than when I rolled a big trash can into the editor’s office and tossed everything in the desk and filing cabinets into it.
The metaphor is fitting, if maybe a touch arrogant. The truth was I wasn’t going to use anything I didn’t understand. I knew this from the three other newsrooms I had tackled as editor. It would be all about the future, not the past.
It still is, even as I reminisce here. Just past Vail’s first 50 years, the next 50 might well be better. I even expect this. That’s how bullish I am about this great valley.
But for today, it’s all about gratitude. Moving here is second only to being just lucky enough to meet the woman I married and having the kids we had. You know the feeling well if you have been fortunate in these things.
OK, I’ve dragged you through enough sappy stuff. That it’s all true and much appreciated is no excuse.
I very much hope the same for you, and your story to date. Oh, and thanks. The biggest part of all this has been everyone here, friend and critic alike.
Editor and Publisher Don Rogers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 970-748-2920.
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