• John McGary, Woodford Sun Staff

Here's Johnny - Sticking around

And now, with the dust settled and the all-too-few cries of anguish faded, I can tell you about nearly leaving The Woodford Sun. On April Fool's Day, I posted the following on my Sun Facebook page (John McGary-Woodford Sun): "I'd like to thank all the folks who've shared their stories with me and read my stuff in The Woodford Sun. I will miss you dearly - but I promise to keep in touch, and that's a threat." I'll admit to being a bit disappointed that there wasn't nearly as much wailing and gnashing of teeth as I'd hoped for. An old television news colleague did ask where I was going, as did a college buddy. Eleven people "liked" my post, which made me wonder whether they were glad I was vamoosing; three people hit the "laughing" emoticon and two others the "crying" emoticon. With a few hundred followers at the time, I'd hoped for more. Another former TV colleague was onto my trick, perhaps because she was an old TV colleague and knows I like to pull a leg now and then. "Solid April Fool's effort, McGary. Lol," she wrote. After that, a city council member I won't name so as not to embarrass her wrote, "That was scary, John," and another friend from many moons ago joked, "You mean I wore sackcloth and ashes all for naught?!?!? LOL!" (By the way, I used to think LOL meant "lots of love," rather than "laugh out loud." I invented another acronym you're welcome to use: "SC," for soft chuckle - because most jests really don't make the average person laugh out loud.) Finally, the first former TV colleague noted, "You're such a sh#%!" That's more like it. Fact is, a few weeks before April Fool's Day, I was offered a job elsewhere. I even got a free lunch out of it, though I had to pay for downtown parking in a city a good bit larger than Versailles. Not paying for parking is one of the reasons I chose to stay in Woodford County. Okay, it's way down on the list, but you get the point. In an age when the number of newspaper-related jobs is a fraction of what it was 20 years ago, I have one of the best (if not best-paying) jobs in the world, and the co-workers blessed by my presence are a big reason why. Publisher Whit Chandler is a kindly soul with a wonderful laugh who's always willing to listen and never fails to make me feel appreciated. The Calendar Girls up front (so named because they use a giant wall calendar to try to keep their schedules straight - and because they're cute) always brighten my day with their kindness, humor and enthusiasm. Ad saleswomen Hope Selby and Jennifer Cardwell and layout guru Patrick Dunham are good people who do things I don't know how to do. My editor, Steve Peterson (aka The Silver Fox) is an old-school journalist who's taught me plenty. He's also pretty cool when I screw up, which happens from time to time. Senior reporter Bob Vlach is a workhorse who churns out more words than me just about every week and doesn't mind lending a hand when my two aren't enough. Sports editor Rick Capone knows his stuff, too, and on proofing day, is kind enough to tell me when he likes a story or column I've written. This column, the somewhat-lamely named Here's Johnny, is another reason I stuck around. I get to pick what I write about and what to say and not once has The Silver Fox kicked one back for a do-over. The people I cover on a regular basis are a delight, among them the elected officials who always return my calls and always answer my sometimes-stupid questions. (That's a rarity in this biz, by the way.) In fact, Judge-Executive John Coyle and the two mayors are so darn nice to me that I hope they never ask me to do anything unethical, because I'd have to at least consider it. That's a joke, I think. Other folks have trusted me to tell their life-changing tales and changed mine, from the pint-hoisting Wolfpack who've banded around a cancer-stricken friend to the Limey who ran a marathon to aid a children's cancer-fighting charity. (I'm leaving out dozens of good people, but I'm running out of space.) The volunteers who operate the Food Pantry and do other good works (including visiting the back door of The Sun one night while I was out of town to see if I'd left my laptop there) never fail to impress me. The Dear Readers who tell me they turn to page two first leave me feeling all warm and fuzzy inside, too. I suppose what this is, then, is a long thank-you note. A few weeks ago, I wrote a column about Career Day at Woodford County Middle School and mentioned the lad who summed up my chosen profession better than I had. "So you go out in the world and write about it," he said. Yep, that's what I do, and while the world I presently write about is a small one (song reference number one), it's also a wonderful one (song reference number two). Love, Johnny

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