Saying goodbye isn’t; writing about it is
“You’ll know what to do when the time comes. Just remember this: all agents defect, and all resistors sell out. That’s the sad truth, Bill. And a writer lives the sad truth, like anyone else. The only difference is … heh, heh … he files a report about it.” – William Burroughs from “Naked Lunch.”
After 41 years in the valley, 14 years in Glenwood Springs and five and a half years working for the local paper, it’s time to say so long.
My husband and I, toting our 3-month-old baby boy, arrived in Glenwood Springs May 23, 1988. It was a temporary move right from the start.
Our mobile home in Basalt sold suddenly and we had two weeks to vacate. We wanted to stay in Basalt, and certainly to relocate no further downvalley than El Jebel, since my work was in Aspen and my husband’s in Glenwood Springs.
But we couldn’t find an affordable place to live in such a short time. So when a close friend offered us a place to stay for the interim in downtown Glenwood Springs, we accepted. We fully intended to return to Basalt. Six months later, we owned a home in Glenwood Springs, and I never looked back upvalley.
Now we’re moving. Actually, we’ve already moved. All that’s left is to say goodbye.
So, what does a writer write when it’s time to say goodbye? I’ve been giving that a lot of thought and haven’t figured it out yet.
There isn’t room to thank everyone who helped me and my family grow these past years. I could thank past employers, like Pat Fitzgerald, Mark Iddings, Jean Snyder and Ken Wiencek at the old Glenwood Brokers real estate company. They allowed me to painlessly slide back into the work force after staying home with my babies for almost three years. Deb Stewart at Senior Programs helped me understand the meaning of compassion. When I was a river guide, the Larsons at Whitewater Rafting spoiled me rotten. And Rudy Steele, who died of cancer last April, was not only a great boss, he was one of the nicest and most gentle men I’ve ever met.
My children have had great teachers that deserve mention, like Mike Vidakovich, who gently nudged Erich through fourth grade; Andi Struble, who nurtured Jamie through first, second and third grade; Libby McNeil, Judy Houston, Brad Thayer and Rob Merritt … Not enough room to list them all, but they’re all appreciated.
I can write about what I think makes Glenwood so special: the Frontier Historical Society and Museum, Mountain Valley Developmental Services and its many and wonderful programs for the disabled, the Center for the Arts, Sunlight Mountain Resort, Strawberry Days and the Fall Art Festival, the Flat Tops, Two Rivers Park, Summer of Jazz … Again, not enough room.
This is much harder than I thought. I’m a writer, after all. It’s just a matter of turning thoughts into words and stringing words into sentences.
I must do a pretty good job of it, since it’s been my job for the past few years. And I do love this job.
But it isn’t just the writing I love. It’s the people.
Writing for the newspaper, first the Glenwood Post and then the Post Independent, has given me the opportunity to talk one-on-one, often intimately, with those who make this area so special. A community, I’ve realized, is nothing more or less than people working together toward common goals. When there’s communication, when one person understands what the other does and respects that job and that person, then the system can begin to work. Each of us doing our job is what links us together in the community.
Through working and writing here I understand more fully the importance of each individual to the whole of the community. There is no one job that is more or less important than the others, no one person who makes it all work or who can bring it all down. From the artist and the entertainer to the managers and the mayor, we all matter. We all have a job, and the better we do that job, the better this place becomes and remains.
As a writer, my job here has been to write about the links in this community, which means that my job would not exist without each of you. I hope I’ve made this a better place to live. Written words, after all, no matter how powerful or moving we intend them to be, mean nothing unless someone reads them, and ideas are useless unless someone puts them into action.
Even though I’m leaving, I know I still belong here. I hope to return and see the people and places I love again and again.
Maybe that’s why it’s so hard to write about saying goodbye. I’m only saying it as a formality. After all, one doesn’t spend four decades in an area and not leave an imprint.
OK, some of you think I’m making a big deal out of this. After all, downtown Paonia is, on a bad day, an hour and a half from downtown Glenwood Springs. Besides, I still have unfinished business here, and good friends who can’t get rid of me that easily.
Like it or not, I’ll be back.
Outgoing staff writer Tamie Meck filled this space so capably on Tuesdays. We wish her all the best.
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