Stop The Presses!

“Well now, everything dies, baby that’s a fact.
But maybe everything that dies someday comes back.”

–Bruce Springsteen, “Atlantic City”

I’m a firm believer that, to be nerdy for a moment, as Spock said, “There are always possibilities.”

And, more to the point, I’m loathe to believe in endings. The idea that I’ll never go back somewhere again, or that I’ll never see someone again is anathema to me, short of death or other major permanent changes. But my pastor exemplifies that for me — we’ve parted ways “for good” at least two or three times when we moved on from particular points in life, and yet God keeps bringing our paths back together. Or the friend that I spent an afternoon with last year for the first time in roughly two decades. Or …

So it’s very odd to me that it feels like Friday will be a last hurrah.

I’m going to drive down that day to Biloxi, Miss., to attend the Mississippi Press Association. Since leaving Mississippi, I have known that, if there’s any justice at all, my former editor, Jim Abbott, would be inducted into the MPA Hall of Fame, and that, if there were any way at all for it to happen, that I would be there for his induction. And on Friday, he will be, and I will be.

I haven’t been to the MPA Convention in eight years, and have been out of the newspaper game for almost seven. But even though I’m going this time as a non-member visitor, there’s still a sense of going back into that world one more time. And, like I said, one last time.

I’m looking forward to it. I haven’t even been in a newsroom in years, so it really will be reconnecting with the past. I looked at the list of registrants, and there are a few familiar names there. But even just the cameraderie and inside jokes should bring back memories. Should remind me of who I used to be, of the world I used to live in.

But the keywords there are “used to.” That’s very much the past now; a past with which I have increasingly little connection. I’m really looking forward to it, and it should be a lot of fun. But there really is a feeling that this will be the last time I can visit that world, at least with any sort of connection to it at all.

Part of that may be the fact that this event, in a way, honors Jim Abbott’s retirement, and part of me feels like, with him gone, that world no longer exists anyway. But part of me also feels like it’s been too long, like I’ve changed too much to ever really be that again, even just temporarily. And that’s a very weird feeling for me.

But I’ll do my best to enjoy the experience while it lasts.

One Response

  1. It’s been five years since I left the biz, almost to the day, in fact, and six since I’ve been to a convention. I actually envy you going and getting this chance to get a little “taste” of it once again. I also wish there was someone still in the business that I had the respect and relationship with that you have with Jim Abbot. Since the passing of Mr. Denley, there’s not really anyone who I have that kind of admiration for.

    At times I think it would be interesting to go back at some point, but as the years go on, there are fewer and fewer people who connect me to the newspaper business. I mean, Baker will always be there, but eventually that will be it.

    Enjoy it. Crash the hospitality suite. I’m sure it will be an interesting experience.

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