Back in the saddle again

This has been the year of the big comeback. In pro sports, everyone welcomed the return of Mario Lemieux on ice and Michael “Air” Jordan back on the hardcourt.
Their fans are still delirious as Canada waits to see Mario score another winning goal in the Olympics.
Which all goes to prove that your fans are happiest with the old familiars. So I decided it was time for me to step out of obscurity, too, and I’ve had few reasons to regret my own comeback.
While I was never so famous as to be seriously missed during my 10-year absence from the Times, I could at least claim to be familiar! Frequently while enjoying my freedom from deadlines, I would be accosted on the street, almost accused, of being some kind of slacker and brow-beaten about why I dropped this column.
But when I shipped my cattle and auctioned off the machinery at the end of my farming days later, there was no one insisting I continue with all that!
What I was too busy to realize, I guess, is that newspapering is such a public thing, once you get started (and I was at it a very long time between this and that), you are expected to keep it up until you drop in your tracks.
So here we are at the end of another year and I have again turned in about 60 “Just Passing By’s” on every topic imaginable, but mostly concerning memories of a Fort Frances most of you never knew.
Now I have no immediate intentions of quitting all this again because I’ve been through that—and there isn’t much else an old hack could turn to for real satisfaction.
Besides, I believe I’ve made numbers of new friends that I would miss if the column quit, and many of my old friends are not standing around to bail me out of whatever faux I’ve just committed—and I miss them all!
Anyway, I’m committed to continuing my own brand of foolishness and I do appreciate quite a lot of fresh popularity.
You know, it’s interesting who reads newspapers and therefore knows me, and also who rarely picks up a paper unless his or her own name is in it and this allows opportunity to complain about that.
But life is full of such situations and the wily old bird who dropped that name can usually talk his way out of trouble. Remember, dear reader, that name-dropping is mostly where reporting is at—and without the names needed, the story would not amount to much. So there!
When you don’t know what you’re going to say, just say something, and thanks for the Christmas cards anyway. My best and biggest card came from an out-of-towner this year.
Calvin Muckle, an old schoolmate who was here in the summer to tour our waterways, was very appreciative of all our attention from that day when he and his family laid on the coffee and cake in Rainy Lake Hotel, and he has vowed to return.
• • •
Now, other kinds of journalists make careers by picking on politicians, little realizing that when their own turn comes to do something important for the country, they would turn their backs.
I always try to compliment our elected officials on doing their best. So it turns out I usually receive handshakes instead of the cold shoulder treatment.
For instance, no matter what you think, I’ll praise a fellow like our Mayor Glenn on occasion, not every time mind you, his working partners in our legislatures are not such bad people always either while they fill offices none of the rest of us want (or would be caught dead in!)
So let’s be fair here and send thanks to both Howie at Toronto and Bob in Ottawa.

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