One huge surprise!

You’ve heard it said that “life is full of surprises,” or at least it ought to contain a surprise or two as we move on through our time on this good Earth.

Well, ladies and gentlemen, the retirement journey my wife and I began some years ago has taken a most astounding turn. Where it goes … let me explain.

We were camping in our RV the other day when I received an e-mail from the acting editorial page editor of the Dallas Morning News. He said he wanted to discuss something with me. I read the message and told my wife what it said. I thought, “What in the world … ?”

I called him. Rudy Bush, the acting EPE at the Morning News, informed me he had been reading my blog and had seen some of the work I had done for KETR-FM radio at Texas A&:M-Commerce. He then told me he needed help at the DMN, that he was working with a short-handed staff; that his staff is burning out and that he wanted little ol’ me to lend a hand writing editorials for the newspaper.

Now, you have to understand something about yours truly. When I got into journalism in the 1970s, I had aspired to write for a major metro newspaper. I sought many times over the course of my career to achieve that goal. I ended up writing during the bulk of my career for two mid-sized dailies. I had a nice career. I believe I did my job well.

What happened at the RV park in Northeast Texas, though, caught me by complete surprise.

The result is that at the age of nearly 72, I am going to see my dream come true … if only for a limited period of time. I phone him back the next morning to tell him “yes,” that I would like to help him out. It will be, as they called it in the Army, a TDY assignment … temporary duty.

I will continue to cover city council, school district issues and write occasional features for the Farmersville Times; I also will continue to cover water resource development in Fannin County for KETR-FM radio. On top of that I will write editorials for the Dallas Morning News.

And just to be crystal clear, my bride and I will continue to haul our RV around behind our pickup for a little R&R.

I found myself grappling with competing thoughts in my noggin. One thought was, “Why don’t you just toss it all aside, sit back, relax and enjoy the fruits of your retirement?” The other thought was, “Why would you want to pass up this opportunity, which you strived to find, and accept the challenge that awaits you?”

I decided to heed the latter thought.

So … off we go, racing toward a new challenge.