I hope you will forgive this impersonal means of sharing my Christmas greetings with you. It was my intent to send each of you a Christmas card, but by the time I addressed all the envelopes it would have been mid-May. Plus, having to lick that many stamps could cause a serious case of sticky-tongue. I know you would not want that on your conscience.
First, I want to tell you how blessed I am to be able to communicate with you a couple of times a week on the pages of the MDJ. There are a number of you that I consider good friends, even though we have never met in person. You have celebrated the good times with me and you have grieved with me through the bad ones. That is what friends do.
This coming year will mark my 17th year of writing this column and while some efforts have been better than others, none have been tossed off. I take this job very seriously, even if I don’t always take myself seriously.
My goal each week is to resist being pigeon-holed as a Kool-Aid drinking, ideological wingnut on either side of the political spectrum. I want you to read my column and wonder who I am going to skewer this week. Sometimes, even I don’t know until I sit down with Barney, my faithful word processor, and start typing. Everyone is fair game.
It is important to note here that I have never been told what to write or not to write on these pages by MDJ management. What you read is what I believe. I wouldn’t have it any other way and neither would they.
There is nothing that warms my heart more than for you to tell me that I brightened your day with a particular barb or quip. There is not enough humor in the world as it is, so we need to poke a little fun at ourselves and others every now and then. Thank goodness, there are more humor-impaired souls among us than I will be able to get to in the next several eons.
American humorist Will Rogers once said that he didn’t do comedy. He just watched Congress and reported what they did. That hasn’t changed. Congress is still a hoot. I suspect Will would have loved our Legislature, too. Our intrepid public servants under the Gold Dome are the gift that keeps on giving.
Sometimes, you write me a nice note with the caveat, “I don’t always agree with you, but. ...” If it makes you feel better, you are in good company. The Woman Who Shares My Name doesn’t always agree with me, either. It is here that I will admit that some of my best columns end up on the cutting room floor. She sees them all before you do and will occasionally offer a helpful comment, like, “You aren’t going to put that in the paper.” Even though I believe this clearly infringes on my Constitutional right of freedom of expression, it is best not to argue with someone that buys their broccoli by the pound. To her credit, she keeps my mean streak tamped down and I am thankful for that.
I talk to a lot of interesting people in putting this effort together each week. One of my favorite contacts is retiring next week. Gail Downing has been our county tax commissioner for the past 11 years and has run a crackerjack organization. She tells me that she plans to spend more time with her family, including grandchildren, and to travel and do some mission work with her church. She has been great to deal with.
The same goes for Lynda Coker, who retired earlier this year as chief deputy in the Cobb County Sheriff’s Department. She always acted as though she had all the time in the world to talk to me, but I knew better. She, too, will be missed.
Of course, most of the talk around the county these days and for the foreseeable future is the proposed move of the Atlanta Braves from downtown Atlanta to Cobb County in 2017. It caught most all of us by surprise, like sneaking a sunrise by a rooster. I don’t have a dog in this fight. I’m just going to stand on the sidelines and watch what happens. It will be interesting.
It has been a good year, thanks to you. I have enjoyed meeting you at civic clubs and at various functions around the county and I appreciate your feedback and suggestions. If you promise to keep reading, I promise to keep writing. I may sometimes be in error, but I am never in doubt.
You can reach Dick Yarbrough at firstname.lastname@example.org or P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, Georgia 31139.