It really does seem like just yesterday that I was sitting at Executive Editor Brian McMillan’s kitchen table. It was well after 1 a.m., and we were editing the very first pages of the Feb. 4, 2010, issue of the Palm Coast Observer.
It was the beginning of something great.
We’d make changes in mechanical pencil. Often, the lead would snap off because I was pressing too hard — probably because I was nervous and my stories needed a lot of work. I’d click some more lead out with my left thumb, and then get back to editing.
The changes were then sent off to the layout department. By sent off, I mean we’d walk the pages into the McMillans’ home office where Brian’s wife, Hailey, would have the pages up on the screen. We’d go over the changes and then move on to the next batch of pages.
This went on for a few weeks until we figured out a new, more efficient process.
Four years and more than 225 issues of the Palm Coast Observer later, the March 20 issue is my final one.
It’s hard to put the last four-plus years into 375 (or so) words. But I can certainly try.
Thanks to the community's acceptance of us as a newspaper, we have been able to tell a lot of stories. In the Sports section, we have written words about winning and losing, we have interviewed players with smiles after winning championships and players with tears after suffering defeat.
From homelessness to heart transplants, tragedy to triumph, the Sports section has been able to connect players and readers, fans of the game and people who just want to read a story about their neighbor. Like we have said all along, the mission of the Palm Coast Observer — especially the Sports section — is to tell you stories about your neighbors and your neighborhoods.
I wouldn’t have been able to tell those stories, though, if players and coaches didn’t open up to me. And for that, I will always be grateful.
Sitting at my own kitchen table four years later as I write this last column, just by looking at the clock I can see the progress we've made: Fortunately, it’s 10 a.m., not 1 a.m.
Thanks for following the last four years, thanks for reading, and — most importantly — thanks for letting me tell your stories.
Farewell, Palm Coast.