Some of you asked if you could see my farewell column I wrote for The Chronicle (it was published today). Seeing as their website has a paywall and I am a generous human being, here you go.
Its title is “How To Succeed Without Really Trying.”
There’s a good chance that as your eyes are scanning this column right now that I’ll probably be pointed eastward in my car, somewhere along Interstate 84 in eastern Oregon.
Here’s why: I was escorted out of my cubicle at The Chronicle by our editorial board at noon Wednesday and banished from the city of Centralia by order of the mayor’s office, apparently due to mental anguish suffered by my print colleagues upon learning I would be “crossing over” to a television job in Missouri.
I can’t remember who necessarily said it, but while I was being tied down to my chair and subjected to a blanket party in which every employee of every department of The Chronicle beat me soundly, someone muttered “I can’t believe you transferred to the dark side, you jerk.”
Okay, okay. In all seriousness, I made a decision roughly a month ago to pursue a career opportunity with a television station in Springfield, Mo. As I grew up in Rainier, Ore., 50 miles south of here — and incidentally, the town in which our esteemed columnist Gordon Aadland received his first teaching job outside South Dakota — I consider this entire area home, and it’s never easy to uproot from a place you know best.
It’s tough to go, especially considering I’ll be moving from one of the most majestic areas of the United States to an area that knows no mountains. But it’s something I have to do, although I’ll be leaving behind scores of good people, most of whom have influenced my life for the better.
To those whom I have come to know in a professional capacity: It’s been great working with each of you and I wish you well. I pray our businesses in Lewis County become prosperous, and that our educational system gets the support it needs to continue functioning well.
To the young people of our area: I know a good 96.2 percent of you feel like you’re stuck in Lewis County, but I’d like to challenge you to step out of your social circle or your comfort zone and spend some time helping the less fortunate. You’ll come away with a drastically different view of our area once you get to know some great people who have sadly fallen on hard times.
To everyone else in our area: Take care of the young people and give them something to be proud of in our community. If you’re of the entrepreneurial type, now’s your time to make something happen; my mantra is that if you fail, at least you steered your own ship and gave it your best effort.
To my brothers and sisters in the faith community: Thank you for the support and prayers throughout a trying 2011, and thank you for the prayers going forward. Lewis County’s faith community is full of excellent people.
My parents always tried to instill three core values in me. They taught me to love God, treat others with that same love and respect regardless of what they think of or do to you, and conduct yourself in a respectable manner at all times.
That’s how you succeed without really trying, and I hope I’ve been able to do so here.
Thanks for everything, and I’ll catch you all down the road — that is, if I don’t get kicked out of town again upon reentry.