Saturday, April 28, 2007


It's been real, crossroads of Christian County.

The next time this computer is plugged in, it will be drawing power from Empire District Electric Company in Joplin. I have family from Tennessee and Kansas helping with this 80-mile move, and I can't thank them enough. Tomorrow, we'll load up the U-Haul. Monday, I'll close on my old Nixa house and new Joplin house. After that, I won't have to drive 80 minutes to work anymore. I'll get back almost 3 hours a day and almost $250 a month in gas savings. And that will end the chapter of my life in Nixa.

I'm leaving behind bittersweet memories of a city that accepted me as a lifelong resident. Even though I graduated from Kickapoo, I've always felt more like an Eagle. Get this: I actually cheered, whooped and hollered when Nixa smeared the 'Poo in the 2005 Blue and Gold. I leave behind memories of starting a family, only to have those dreams stolen by a cruel ex-wife. I leave a house that still holds the echoes of two step-kids I loved until it hurt.

I'll also leave behind a newspaper that I loved. I poured my heart, soul and guts into an award-winning newspaper that is now defunct. I thank Community Publishers, Inc. for giving me a chance to learn firsthand about community journalism, and teaching me about the corporate decisions behind them. For it to change into a hideous amalgam of eye candy and sound-byte journalism leaves me feeling like a failure of sorts. Sheesh, Nixa, don't you care about real news?

OK, I admit... there's more bitter than sweet. Christian County is the home of much heartbreak for me.

But life is looking pretty exciting. I'll post pictures of my new house, so y'all can see it. My job at the Joplin Globe is going very well, and I'll be able to do a better job without the massive drive sucking my energy. I'll be able to write much more fiction. I'll be able to take regular walks with my dog. I can start giving back to a community again. And I'm starting a new life with the best thing that ever happened to me: TLP. She is moving in with me! She means so much to me, and has sacrificed so much to move to Joplin with me. She is my beloved muse -- she keeps me writing and looking for beauty in the ugliness around us all. And, we'll be working the same hours, so we'll get to spend more time together.

Anyway, to all the friends and acquaintances I made in Christian County: It's been fun. I'll miss you and never forget you all. Thanks for taking me in as one of your own.


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