It’s hard to believe but this is my 52nd column at the Prince Albert Daily Herald.
Tomorrow it will be a year since I moved to Prince Albert and Wednesday will be my first anniversary in the job as managing editor.
So what have I learned?
We’ll start with a lesson that was reinforced. Days sometimes drag but weeks and months fly by. I’ve noticed that more as I’ve gotten older.
I wish that I could somehow communicate this thought to younger people; look around and try to remember your school years and friends. It all goes by too quickly and the friendships you develop as a youngster aren’t necessarily the ones you nurse into adulthood.
But let’s get past one of the melancholy realities of life and drill into the job itself.
I’m at my desk nearly every morning by 9 a.m. I get up at 7:05, get my old dog out for his hour-long walk, clean myself up, wolf down a bowl of cereal and start my day.
I usually begin my work day by preparing the next day’s editorial page, putting the previous day’s columns and letters up on our website and then attending to the list of jobs that I write on the erasable white board beside my desk.
I go for lunch at 11:50 and try to knock off the rest of the jobs on my list before quitting time.
I usually head home between 6 and 7 p.m., although sometimes it’s just long enough for me to change out my suit into jeans to take pictures at a hockey game.
I’ve written in this space before about how neat it is to pick up the phone and chat with the mayor or other prominent citizens in this great city.
That never gets old.
The move from Manitoba has had its challenges.
I’m still learning where things are located and forever hearing new names of towns and villages for the first time.
I know the major streets in Prince Albert but I still have to double-check where the named streets are. Google map has become one of my best resources.
There’s only been one drawback and it will be a familiar to anyone close to their family who has moved away. We miss being able to pile into the car and drive home for the evening.
There were a couple of instances recently when it would have been nice to lend a hand to my in-laws, who recently sold their acreage and moved into the city of Portage la Prairie.
But with an eight-hour drive home, they told us not to worry about it.
It was tough not to be there for them.
But it’s one debit on a ledger filled with credits.
A lot of people have had very kind things to say about the focus our team has put back on the community. At times it has been a bumpy ride but it has also been the most gratifying of the nearly 26 years I’ve spent in newspapers.
There are no regrets, mostly because of the terrific people I’ve had a chance to meet here.
One of those terrific people is Joanne Panas, who did the cartoon you see with this column.
She visits every couple of weeks to hand in cartoons for Rural Roots and the Saturday editorial page; sometimes we get a nice chance to chat, other times I’m swamped with phone calls and emails.
She knows how goofy my days can get.
When I took the trip down to Moose Jaw with the Raiders on a Tuesday two weeks ago, I spent all day Wednesday catching up with phone messages and more than 70 emails in my personal work account. Each message took time to read and deal with but they are one of the key elements that helps us find stories on slower days.
Still, when Joanne portrays me as diving under my desk to hide, she’s reading my mind some days.
It’s a small price to pay.
A year ago I finished my introductory column with the words “Hello Prince Albert.”
A year later, the final sentence changes.
Thank you Prince Albert.