It’s been a slice

Once again I’m leaving the Westlock News. But this time I expect it to be permanent, as I’m moving on to the Edmonton Sun.

I have mixed emotions about leaving, as I’ve grown comfortable in Westlock, but the opportunity to move to the city, and to take on the challenge of working for a daily was too much to resist in the end.

And now, much like I did when I left the first time way back in 2011, I present my farewell column in advance of its actual appearance in the paper.

Well, it’s come to this. Again.

Some of you with long memories may recall something I wrote in this spot back at the end of August 2011, when I was saying farewell to Westlock as I moved over to work in Barrhead.

At that time, little did I know I would be back here in mid May 2012. Clearly I wasn’t saying “goodbye,” but was instead saying “so long.”

This time is different. This will be the last column I write in this spot, as I will be heading down to Edmonton to start a new gig with the Edmonton Sun.

And to be honest, it’s rather a bittersweet moment for me.

I’ve been working here in Westlock, notwithstanding my short sojourn in Barrhead, since Dec. 1, 2010. To save you all the effort, that’s 1,403 days I’ve been out here, or three years, 10 months and three days as of Oct. 3.

It’s the longest I’ve held a steady job — I lifeguarded for seven years, but that don’t really count because it was really only in the summer months.

I’m not exactly sure how I feel about leaving.

On the one hand, nearly four years in one place means I’ve grown accustomed to and comfortable in one place. I’ve got used to this place, where everything is, who people are, and the overall lay of the land.

On the other hand, I’m looking forward to moving to Edmonton. There’s no way around that fact. Growing up in a city, living in a small town, even one with a city a hop, skip and a jump away, has been an adjustment.

But while getting out of here is something I’ve been looking forward to, at the same time I feel like I’m leaving a place that has gradually become home.

I’ve spent the last 1,400-plus days getting to know the community and its people. I’ve watched kids grow up, somewhat. I’ve seen one cohort of students graduate who weren’t even in high school when I started here.

In short, I feel like I’ve been part of your lives, albeit as that guy with a camera who showed up at your sporting events, concerts, plays, meetings, conferences and whatever has gone on in the last four years.

Seriously, I’ve covered so many things, I can’t remember even half of them.

And in return, you’ve all been a part of my life. You’ve helped me grow as a reporter as I’ve chronicled your lives and tried to do justice to your successes and failures.

So here we are. I want to thank you for welcoming me into your community, and I want to thank you for putting up with me and all my foibles. I’ll never forget it.

So there we have it.