One Nation, Under God

41 years of Stargazing comes to and end

The Bible says there is a time and season for everything. The older I get the more I realize how true that is.

Seems like you spend the first half of your life doing things for the first time and the latter half of your life doing things for the last time.

I’d like to say I remember the first Stargazer column I ever wrote 41 years ago after becoming editor of my hometown weekly newspaper a few weeks after being discharged from the Army.

But I admit I don’t. I’m sure my wife’s got a copy of it somewhere. I was 24 years old. Now I’m not.

In case you missed the story on the front page, this will likely be my last Stargazer column. My wife and I have sold the PCN after publishing it for the past 29 years.

I can now add one more item to my list of things I’ve done for the last time.

I wish I had something memorable to say, “Ask now what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country” or “Remember the Alamo” or “I regret that I have only one life to give for my country...”

What it might be escapes me.

Someone else once said life is a journey not a destination. As I look back I can honestly say I’ve (we’ve) enjoyed the journey. And I’ve enjoyed the people I’ve met along the way.

Montanans are unique, friendly and down to earth. One of the things I noticed fairly quickly after moving to Montana in 1984 is you can’t necessarily tell who the wealthy people are in town from the size or look of their homes.

One of my memories is of the first time I was invited to go golfing on Chinook’s golf course. It had sand greens in those days, something I’d never seen before. I was invited to join the league.

I knew I was in Montana when I found myself golfing with an older gent who was obviously a cowboy. He wore cowboy boots, a long sleeve western shirt, Levis and a western hat. And, the largest western buckle I’d ever seen.

He was a bit potbellied and I couldn’t see how he could bend over a putt without that belt buckle cutting into his stomach. But he managed.

I’ve met a lot of colorful characters since then. And a lot of just plain, ordinary good folk.

One thing I’ve never met in Montana is somebody who told me I (we) didn’t belong. Phillips County seemed to welcome us with open arms.

I always figure it was because folks who live on the Hi-Line and endure its windy, cold winters and mosquito-plagued summers are so amazed someone from somewhere else would willing choose to live here with them, they welcome them with open arms.

We’ve tried to reciprocate by being a part of the community. I hope we succeeded.

I’ve never been one for ceremony and making a fuss over things. And I’ve never liked being the center of attention in anything I did. I feel much the same way about retiring.

After all, I’m just retiring, not dying. It’s just a change of season in my (our) lives.

In the coming days and years, we hope to serve our Father in Heaven by serving a church thank him for being so good to us over the years. Then we hope to hug our grandchildren a little more and watch them grow up because they’re in that season of doing things for the first time.

And we’ve got a list of things we still want to do for the first time and a list of things we might do for the last time before the good Lord decides it is time for me to do that last thing in this life.

God be with you (all of you) until we meet again.


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