Thursday, June 18, 2009

They Say it's Your Birthday

“Are you gathering fodder for your column?”
A friend asked me that question as we watched the wedding reception for the daughter of some dear neighborhood friends wind down Saturday night in a small Indiana town. I suppose it’s a fair question, as many of the columns I write seem to be devoted to the people and things I see and the places I go.
While I spent most of my working life doing other things and writing on different topics, working for a newspaper was always a dream that rattled around in the back of my mind. After a bout with cancer forced me to readjust some of my activities and interests, I was excited to get a chance to get to do something new. As a sportswriter for the Star Courier, I’ve had an opportunity to meet and observe some dedicated, hard-working young people and the coaches who work so tirelessly to teach and inspire them. It was just about a year ago that I wrote an essay on that experience. That opinion piece, apparently, convinced column boss Rocky Stufflebeam to ask me if I’d like to do something similar every week and so, this column was born.
It sounded like a great idea to me, though I didn’t have a clue as to what I’d write about every week.
I still don’t.
The list of topics over the past year has included meanderings on old friends and family members, the economy, kids and coaches, politics, holidays, backroads travels and even the thoughts that come to mind as I mow my lawn.
As a result of my need for “fodder,” as that friend called it, some people have started keeping an eye on me as I wander through their midst.
“What’s he going to write about this time?” they seem to wonder, which, unaccountably results in exemplary public behavior on the part of some of my friends. The person across the table reminds me, though, that some of them still just don’t give a darn whether I write about them or not.
And that’s OK.
I love the fact that someone might straighten up and fly right because they think I might rat them out in the pages of a daily newspaper. But I also love the chance to see and experience and enjoy every single one of you just as you are.
Because, while you might think this column is all about me, it’s not, really.
It’s about you.
So I’ll keep writing as long as you keep reminding me of all the ways I love living where I live and doing what I do.
It’s been a year. It’s been fun.
And there’s always this question:
What’s next?

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