By: Travis Naughton

I began writing for the Boone County Journal in the summer of 2011. By my estimation, I’ve had over 500 original submissions published in the newspaper in that span of time. At roughly 700 words per piece, the total body of my work for the Journal amounts to around 350,000 words, the equivalent of four 300-page books.

After sharing so much of myself in the pages of the newspaper for so long, I have come to one inescapable conclusion: I have nothing of value left to say. Nothing at all, except for one final and very important message; thank you.

Thank you, dear readers, for turning to Page 4 week after week, year after year, to read the rantings of a stay-at-home parent/ grandparent/ husband/ son/ grandson/ brother/ uncle/ substitute teacher/ wedding officiant/ public address announcer/ cigar box guitar builder/ collector car enthusiast/ recovering alcoholic/ mental health advocate/ LGBTQ+ ally/ world citizen/ writer.

It has been an incredible honor to serve my community as a columnist and reporter for our locally-owned and operated newspaper, the Boone County Journal. The Journal has a long and rich history and is one of the oldest independent newspapers in Missouri. I am proud that my words—all 350,000 of them—are permanently enshrined in the Journal’s archives. Today’s column will be my final contribution to that collection.

Fret not, loyal readers, for you will still be able to read virtually everything I have ever written thanks to the magic of self-publishing. I have self-published three volumes containing collections of my columns from the Journal (“Love & Fried Chicken”, “686 Words Per Week”, and “It’s All Chicken and Booze”), and I plan on releasing a fourth compilation soon. All of my books, including my novel “Naked Snow Angels” are available at

Although I have exhausted my supply of opinions for the newspaper, I am not yet done with writing. In the future, I intend to create short stories, literary essays, a memoir, and perhaps another novel or two.

My career as a columnist began when I asked former Journal publisher Bruce Wallace if he would consider printing the musings of a stay-at-home dad getting ready to adopt a little girl in China. Eleven years later, that little girl, my daughter Tiana, is not so little anymore. In fact, she is finishing her junior year at Southern Boone High School this week. Her younger brother Truman, whom we adopted three years earlier in 2008, will be a sophomore next year, and their big brother Alex will be a senior at Mizzou next fall.

When my kids were younger, I wrote about them quite a bit, but out of respect for their privacy as they’ve grown older, I have opted to write about them less frequently in recent years. Naturally, I would love to write about my granddaughter Freya ad nauseum, but because she is not technically my baby, I can’t share everything about her life nor that of her baby brother Jude (due in August!) With the public. But who knows, maybe there will be a book called “The Adventures of Freya, Jude, and Pop” for you to read someday.

In addition to thanking you, my readers, for indulging me over the years, I would be remiss if I failed to say thank you to former Journal publisher Bruce Wallace and current publisher Gene Rhorer for allowing me to share my unsolicited opinions, personal stories, and community features for the last decade plus. I am deeply grateful to both of these gentlemen for allowing me to sully the pages of their respectable newspaper.

Finally, I would like to thank my family for selflessly allowing me to share accounts of their lives with you. A special thanks goes to my wife Bethany—the Voice of Reason and the Enabler—for putting up with all of my nonsense for nearly 30 years. I love you and our family, Dear, more than this sorry excuse for a writer could ever adequately express.

I hope I made you proud