You have seen the news on the front page and I have been allowed one more chance to make you chuckle before the new boss kicks me out of here.

Bruce Wallace

I have often used this space to laugh at myself, to laugh with you or to to attempt to provide a clever outlook on the news.

But today I don’t feel very clever or funny. As I write this final column, I feel very grateful and very humble.

Thanks to many advertisers and many, many readers who have subscribed or purchased the Journal from a newsstand….thank you for taking such a strong interest in this newspaper and this outstanding community.

If I lived a hundred years and published this paper forever, I would never have enough space to thank everyone who has advertised, been interviewed, let me take their photo and mangled their name in the past 18 years.

I have often come to this space and attempted to make you smile – if not absolutely laugh out loud. I’m told by many that my knucklehead attempts at DIY plumbing or efforts at removing a bat from my living room simply get a “Tisk-Tisk-tisk” from those who don’t understand my nuttiness.

For all of my misadventures, I feel fortunate to have been the caretaker of this community’s weekly newspaper for the past 928 editions and I am grateful to have made so many good friends in that time frame.

I bought the Boone County Journal on April 1, 2001. April Fools Day.

You might think I would have seen this as an omen. But I have been absolutely blessed to have worked with people who were smarter than I am, more talented than I am and put up with my nonsense for the duration. Those folks include (but may not want to be reminded); Shiela Bauer, Steve Schnarr, Elizabeth Browning, Barb Haslag and current production manager Stacy Phillips. Along with them have been a cast of dozens of MU journalism reporters.

Cathy Salter and Travis Naughton have been terrific columnists and Jane Flink has been an outstanding mentor.

I also want to thank both of my daughters who lived with the fact their dad ran a newspaper – so they might be asked to fold bills or stuff inserts into newspapers. These duties were expected of my daughters so there is not really a “Thank You” for them, but they earned a ton of my respect to go with my love for understanding why I wasn’t at home on a Tuesday night or why I was watching someone else’s kid play ball instead of them. I love them for putting up with me and my job.

Finally, I want to thank my most important member of the entire operation – the bookkeeper.

For the past 18 years, my wife has kept up with all of the tax changes, worked through billing snafus and never missed a payroll. She took care of the books while also having a teaching job at Jefferson City Schools and also while being an incredible mother and, now, grandma.

More importantly, she has been a great business partner – letting me vent without judgement, offering advice when asked and ignoring me when I ranted about this or that. One simple reason I wanted to retire at 58-years-old? I look forward to spending more time with my wife.

Over the years, I have had people come up to me and laugh with me when I write about bats in my house or attempting to afford my daughter’s wedding by selling a kidney – and I always wanted to ask them if they have considered a subscription to the Kansas City Star so they could read some real journalism.

There is nothing I can do to repay those readers – thank you for everything you have given me, from your time to your patience and your story ideas.

One thing I think I have done right in being the editor of this paper is to get the community involved. Your “Take the Journal Wherever You Go” photos, those youth ball team photos, weddings and engagements and all the other news and information you have provided have been critical to this paper’s success.

Please do not discontinue that habit just because there is a new owner. He will want your story ideas, your photos when you take the Journal on vacation and pics of ball teams. There is a new caretaker of the Journal – but it’s still your news, it’s still your Southern Boone community newspaper.

So, that’s it. After 35 years in the newspaper business at seven locations, and 18 fantastic years in Ashland, it’s time to clean out my desk.