Six months ago, I had the opportunity to make a career change, so I did. It wasn’t an easy decision because I loved the kids I was teaching; but it was the right decision because it gave me a chance to explore writing, something I have always enjoyed.
I have learned so much but still have so much to learn. What I have enjoyed most is meeting new people and hearing their stories – from a local “Rosie the Riveter” to couples that have been married more than 60 and 70 years and veterans who served both in peace time and in war. It has been exciting to see new businesses come into the area and I love going to the many events at the Jackson Health Care Facility. I have watched as the community banded together to grieve young lives lost and to support bereaved families. I’ve watched more high school football games in the past six months than I have in years!
Because I changed jobs, more changes came to my family. My daughter changed schools and our entire routine and rhythm changed as well. We’ve adjusted and are enjoying all the “new” that we are experiencing.
In the past six months, I have learned more about local government and gotten to know many elected officials. I have seen first-hand what a difficult job they have and I wish them the best. There are some careers that I would not be willing to try. Politics is one of these, but hats off to those who do!
My appreciation for first responders continues to grow. Just when I think I fully appreciate the police department, fire department and EMTs, I will either witness or hear of more of their deeds. I am so thankful for them and their willingness to serve our communities well.
I still get to be a part of what is going on in local schools and I love this part of my job. I love to see the creative learning projects that our teachers are implementing. The smiles on the students’ faces say so much! It’s been fun to celebrate learning milestones and scholarship signings. I look forward to being a part of many more of these. One of my favorite days recently was Special Needs Day at the fair. I loved watching the children have fun! I also loved watching the high school students from Jackson High School and the Interact Club as they enjoyed the fair with their charges. I have a special shout out to JHS Aggie No. 65. I don’t know him, but I know he rode the Scrambler at least 20 times with his buddy and not once did he look bored, annoyed or even sick! He was there for the younger child and I know that kid will never forget the way that football player treated him!
Unfortunately, our small area is not immune to trouble. Even though we may not like to admit it, bad news does pique our interests. The announcement of the closing of the Lowman plant and the uncertainty accompanying that is devastating. The loss of young lives by accidents, illnesses and murder strikes fear and makes me thankful for every single day that I have with my children. Manhunts that put our lawmen in harm’s way are not the way we like to envision our community and thankfully, these are isolated.
So, in the midst of this Thanksgiving season, I am truly grateful for the opportunity to write every day, to take pictures every day and to invest in the community every day. It has been a LONG time since I wrote for the University of Mobile newspaper and an even longer time since the Leroy High School paper, so I am immensely thankful that someone saw potential and took a chance on a true rookie reporter. I know that there is still so much for me to learn, and I am continuing to learn new things daily. One thing’s for sure, there is always something going on in the Clarke/Washington area.
There are occasions when I start to stress. What will I cover this week? What’s going on? What will I write about? These questions are always answered by press time, no matter if the week initially seems slow.
So, just like that… six months have passed. I am very thankful to be here and I am thankful for all the people that I have met in this new journey! I still want your stories! Call me!
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Weekly columnist. Feature Writer.