Guess I’ll just keep showing up for work

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blankI like the idea of retiring, but I can’t seem to pull the trigger. I don’t know if it is the fear of the unknown, or my ego telling me the Express can’t survive without me, but I’m at my desk, writing another column as a new year starts.

In the back office is my father, who has retired more times than I can remember. He is here, working on “Years Ago” items for this week’s paper, and getting the Lorenzo Market insert ready for the carriers. When people ask about my father, I tell them he is in better shape than we are, and gets around pretty well for being 98. His only health issue is that he can’t hear. When I commented to Doctor Davis that he never goes to the doctor, he told me he doesn’t see a doctor because he doesn’t need one. Words of wisdom.

Taking more time off to be with friends and family is my standing New Year’s resolution. This year started off great with a quick visit to Boise to see our son, daughter-in-law and newest grandson. Lukas is one and a half and just may be the cutest kid around.

We spent Christmas with Laura’s family in Ripon and then flew to Boise to celebrate my birthday with Robert’s family. It was a little hectic, but a very nice holiday week. Sitting around, trying to relax, as Lukas runs circles around us, the conversation turns to people we know that had a tough 2017. We are blessed in that we have had several good years in a row. I don’t want to jinx it, but life is pretty good, right now.

I’ve talked about retiring for several years, but what I should have said was that I didn’t want to be in charge anymore. I don’t mind putting in the time at the office, but as the years have gone by, I’ve noticed that I’ve been making mistakes that I didn’t make 10 years ago. My memory isn’t what it used to be, but I don’t think it was ever very good. Names are getting harder to remember and that adds to the mistake pile, which adds to the reasons to get out of the way pile.

There are family businesses, that includes family farmers, who are in the same position that I’m in. There aren’t family members standing in the wings ready to take over. It is a dilemma that we worry about. I was lucky when Taylor Buley showed up as the person in charge of the technology department for McNaughton Publications, which includes the Winters Express. A year ago, I mentioned that he should think about taking over the Express. He just laughed, but the seed had been planted.

I didn’t think much about an exit strategy when I came back to Winters in 1977, or when my father made me the publisher in 1983, or even when we merged with the McNaughtons in 1994. The years kept going by, one week at a time. If my math skills are still working, that is over 2,000 issues of the Express, over a 40-year span. That is not even close to the 70 years that my father has been showing up. He doesn’t write columns, any more, but works on page 2, makes sure the advertising inserts make it into the paper, and likes to take out the recycling each week. Most mornings he can be found at his desk, reading newspapers and opening his mail.

I like to work with old printing presses, and I’ve been joking about opening my museum to the public for decades. Now may be the time to put on my printing apron and organize my collection of all things no one else wanted. One person’s junk…

Doing what you like isn’t really a job and everyone needs a place to go. So, with Taylor now in charge, I’ll be moving into the back office with my father. Maybe not figuratively, but mentally. Until someone tells me not to show up, I’ll keep my desk messy and my computer turned on.

Have a good 2018.

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