Greetings from the left coast, Mercer County. I hope you had a great Christmas and the New Year is off to a great start. We spent the better part of a month having the kitchen remodeled and for those that know me, not having a kitchen is akin to the tv exploding just before the Super Bowl comes on.
Thanksgiving was interesting since we had to order out and heat things up in the microwave, but it was all about quality time spent with Brenda and her boys. I suppose my turkey fryer appreciated the year off as well. Either way, it was well worth the wait because this kitchen is truly a work of art.
Most of you know, my contributions to the Princeton Times are usually on the lighter side of things (much like the opening paragraph), but today, my tone is going to lean a bit to the serious side of life as well.
By now, you have heard the news of Mr. Jim Aboulhosn’s passing, and I was saddened to hear former Chief Deputy, Darrell Bailey had also passed away after a battle with cancer. Being a small community, I’m sure many of you knew these fine men and understand the voids their passing leaves on not only their families, but Mercer County as well. I for one, am proud to have known them and I hope their loved ones fine comfort in two lives very well lived.
Before I get to the heart of this column, I’d like to take a minute to ask you all if you could say a little prayer or just send some good vibes for a full and speedy recovery to my dear friend and PSHS classmate, Eric Nolley. Eric has had a bit of a bump in the road health-wise as of late and is doing well, but a little spiritual boost from the hometown folks can’t hurt. He is one of my oldest friends from my early days in Princeton and his family treated me like one of their own from day one. We love you, Eric. Get well soon, buddy.
Now I can take some time to recognize someone who was a huge contributor to my own renaissance, or rise from the ashes if you will when I moved back to Princeton in 2009 to rebuild a life I’d pretty much destroyed. I was fresh of a period of couch surfing in different locales and a personal life that made the landfill look like a nice place for a picnic. At the particular time, most of my written commentary was confined to my Facebook page on my notes tab and in the latter part of 2010, I received a message from Tammie Toler. It pretty much read to the effect of “Hey Scott, I really enjoy your writing on your page and it made me wonder if you would consider freelancing for the Princeton Times”. Well, I was of course flattered and at the time finishing my first semester at Concord and had not selected a major. After about thirty seconds of intense consideration, I messaged back; “Sure, sounds like fun!” and with one fell swoop, my major had been defined and my chosen career path started.
Tammie saw something in me I had no idea was there. Certainly, I’ve always had the gift of gab, but I had never considered being a writer until Tammie hit “send” on that message. Without that one moment, I may have chosen the wrong major and could right now be your therapist which is a scary prospect if you ask me, so you have Tammie to thank for that. What I have Tammie to thank for is this bully pulpit I’m afforded once and again, a statewide press award or two, her guidance which has made me a better writer, and of course her friendship. Tammie is tough, fair, and most of all, as supportive an editor anyone would have the pleasure to work with. Even after I moved out here to California, I was always able to call her for advice on a piece I was kicking around in my head which was invaluable to the new guy out here.
Tammie, I know you’re not leaving the area, but your absence from these pages will be something to get used to. As the editor, this paper was pretty much an extension of you and although I know it will carry on just fine, I’ll miss your by line when I check in to see what’s happening in our hometown. You’ve inspired me, mentored me, and above all become a dear, dear friend. Thank you for all you have done and I wish you the best in your next chapter.
Looks like that’s it for now, Mercer County, so as always; I’ll see you when I see you.