Saying good-bye is seldom easy, but this January has become a month for saying good-bye.

Sometimes the good-byes are final.

Early in the month the community was shocked to hear of the death of Jimmy Carberry. Even during his times of personal difficulties, he always had a smile and a cheerful word for others.

Last week our staff said good-bye to a longtime friend and co-worker, Sandy Murray. Sandy was a quiet little lady, one of those people that you sometimes don’t even realize they are near. But when someone needed a friend or support, she was always there. I think I will always remember Sandy for her quiet strength, her encouraging words, her quick smile and her devotion to her family, especially her beloved grandchildren.

Final good-byes were also said to other friends and acquaintances.

Other good-byes are harder to define, because the relationships are less personal. But I was sad to hear that school board member Chase Shick had resigned his position because he was leaving the community because of a new career opportunity. Although I only knew him the few months he had served on the school board, I was looking forward to watching him grow as a member of the board. I’m sure the best wishes of many in the community have gone to Ohio with Chase.

Then there are good-byes that most likely are temporary, yet hard to say.

When my sister and her family come up from Newport News or Rex’s sister and brother-in-law come up from Florida for a visit, it’s hard to say good-bye when they leave. No matter how long their visit is, there is never enough time to get everything done and said that we want to share.

The same is true when we attend one of our church conventions in Ohio. Even though we see our church brothers and sisters a little more often than we do our natural families because of the distances that separate us, it is still hard to say good-bye. There is always just one more testimony to give, one more hug to share, one more need for prayer to ask.

And then there are good-byes that are hard to say, because it means a big change in our life is about to occur.

Next week we will say good-bye to our editor of nearly 30 years.

I have known Randy since we both walked the halls of Brookville Area High School. A year ahead of me, he was the “Mr. Popularity Playboy” while I was the one afraid of my own shadow. Never in my wildest dreams would I have ever imagined that one day we would be working together and becoming friends.

The past 30 years were not always a smooth road; as with every journey there were twists and turns and bumps and potholes. But with each passing year, the road became a little smoother and the journey less stressful.

Many, many times we have had people tell us that working for a weekly newspaper must be a really easy job. Little do they realize that it is anything but easy. They haven’t experienced the hours spent in public meetings, trying to sift out the important facts without getting caught up in the personalities involved. They don’t realize that the picture of an accident or fire that happened in the middle of the night, on a holiday or weekend meant that someone gave up sleep time or family time to get that picture. They don’t realize what it is like to have a dozen or so blank pages staring you in the face, knowing that you only have a few hours to fill those pages with anything that will hold the readers’ interest. They don’t realize that what Joe Smith sees to be the truth is not necessarily what Joe Brown says is the truth and often the reporter and/or editor gets caught in the middle. And that is just the beginning of all that an editor faces every day of every week of every year that he (or she) fills the seat behind the editor’s desk.

The behind the scenes effort that goes into producing a weekly newspaper, without the luxury of stories and photos provided through the wire service and other media sources, requires a 24-7 dedication that often brings more criticism than applause. But for the past 29 years the readers of the Jeffersonian-Democrat have reaped the fruit of that type of dedication.

I am not saying good-bye to Randy; from conversations I have heard the past few weeks, I imagine I will still be seeing him all around town. But as he steps into this new chapter in his life, Rex and I both wish him and his family the best of everything life has to offer.

Thought for the week — Retirement may be an ending, but it is also a new beginning. (Catherine Pulsifer)

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