We’ve all heard it said that time flies when you’re having fun, and it’s hard for me to believe that I’ve been putting words onto this page for almost a decade now.
The problem is, there’s another old saying that floats around out there and it’s equally true: All good things must come to an end.
With this last issue of the Enquirer-Herald looming for several weeks, I’ve given a lot of thought to what I might say in this final column, and I have to admit that the words aren’t coming easy. After all, this has been a weekly task that I’ve taken great pleasure from during its run.
With that said, please forgive me if I ramble.
During the years, we’ve talked about issues that range from the political to simple wildlife management tactics. We’ve told stories of success had by young hunters and fishermen and we’ve highlighted new products and technologies that have come into the sportsman’s world.
Still, the ones that I’ll remember the most are the weeks that my words have taken a personal turn. The first time that happened was when I wrote about the passing of Bob Pulley and my memories of growing up around him as he’d take me fishing regularly.
Little did I know that the column about Mr. Pulley was just the first of many of those that I’d have to write as I chronicled the deaths of far too many people who meant the world to me, including my own father. That one was, without a doubt, the toughest time I’ve ever had putting my words on paper.
One of the really neat things about showing up here every week has been the countless times that I’ve had complete strangers come up to me in public to ask, “Aren’t you that guy in the paper?”
The fact that this has happened so many times has been proof to me of just how much our area has grown.
Back when I was a boy and both Clover and York were nothing more than tiny little towns that seemed almost forgotten by the rest of the world. There weren’t really any strangers.
They say that growth such as this is called progress. I’m not so sure about that really.
The definition of the word means to advance or move forward. But losing our identity through growth or other things, such as the loss of this paper, hardly seems like a step that moves us ahead.
Instead, it feels more like we’re being absorbed by the world around us and makes me wonder if people who will be living a hundred years from now will have any sense of community pride or even know their neighbors.
With the direction we’re going and the velocity with which we’re traveling, just imagining things that far into the future makes me question whether or not they will even be able to tell the difference between Kings Mountain and Cleveland.
It’s likely, now, that there will be no more columns in my future.
Sure, I’ll still provide content to other publications and websites but most of that is never seen by the folks here at home. These words that you’re reading now are the final ones of the essays that I’ve enjoyed writing the most and I guess you could say that, from this point on, I’m just the former guy from the paper.
I’ll miss it terribly and I’ll miss all of you coming up to me to discuss something that I’ve recently put into this space.
It wouldn’t be right to close this out without handing out some “thank yous” to those who greatly deserve it. These would most definitely have to begin with Shannon Greene, my original editor here.
On a fateful day, quite a few years back, Shannon completely bought into the whole idea that including outdoors content in the paper just made sense, and I appreciate it.
When Shannon moved on to a different position with the newspaper, her shoes were filled for a while by Jonathan Allen, and he remained just as supportive to what I was doing.
I’ve spent more time working under Jennifer Becknell than anyone else, and it has been a pleasure doing so. She has hung right in there with me, often aided by the likes of Catherine Muccigrosso of the Lake Wylie Pilot and Michael Harrison of the Fort Mill Times.
To each a heartfelt thanks, and I hope they know how much I’ve enjoyed the ride.
As for the rest of you out there, this is not a goodbye. It’s more like goodbye for now.
I’ll still be around, so y’all please don’t hesitate to come up and say something when you happen to see me out and about.
You know. Just for old time’s sake.
Brad Harvey is a freelance outdoors writer in Clover. Visit his website at www.bradharveyoutdoors.com or follow on Twitter @BHarveyOutdoors.