By Bob Spiwak

I finally had my turn slipping on the ice, landing simultaneously on my butt and head. My first thought was about the National Football League and the concussion protocols now in use. The last thing I need is more adverse goings-on in the brain, because it is getting less useable as I write.

It is that organ that has precipitated my resignation from the Mazama column. In two months it will be the anniversary of my 83rd year on Earth and 36th year with the Methow Valley News. (There was a year of hiatus when Mary Sharman and I published the Goat Wall Street Journal.)

The brain has had growing hiccups over the past year or more and its effect on writing has been more and more frustration when it comes to short-term memory. This aberration, I know, is to be expected in advancing years, but can be deadly when trying to remember a name or a face, or something that was in mind to be written disappears. Deadlines only complicate the matter. Nouns and proper names fly away like ticker tape at a St. Patrick’s Day parade in New York. With this in mind, I apologize to everyone whom I greet with “Who are you? Your face is familiar …” No offense ought be taken.

It has been a good run at the paper, and thanks are due to many people for making it so. I have to start with Ms. Gloria, who aside from being my mate has contributed uncounted ideas for something to write in the column. She often helps to come up with some single word or name I need. Additionally, she is the technical brain for operation of our Pre-Columbian computer.

And speaking of this beast, special thanks to Darla Hussey at the paper. I know not how many times the compuker [sic] has turned on me during the writing of a column, and she has rescued me with calm advice about things to try to get the machine (and I) working properly.

John Bonica and Mike Irwin hired me back in 1982 and I owe ultimate thanks to them for setting me off on this literary journey. Since then there have been five owner/publishers, about eight or nine editors, and three offices. In memoriam, Jeanne Hardy’s columns and Ann Joslyn Webster’s “The Hobby Farmer” were inspirational by their writings to encourage humor. This was reflected in Don Nelson’s kind and generous editorial last week about my leaving. Thanks to you, Don.

Thanks also to Sue Misao, whom I found to be a friend. Sue wrote the Carlton news, offending some, though others and I found it hilarious. And thanks for her willingness to go along with constant changes I wanted in my mug shots.

Adding to my demise overall is the stress of coming up with something to put in print, remembering the words between my written notes and meeting deadlines with the text.

Only this morning Jay Lucas asked who was going to take my place. I suggested that I thought it would be him. He said, “hell no, I can’t think of anything worse than deadlines.” There is a stress factor in deadlines, and the staff that does the actual reporting has my admiration.

I will write an occasional “Off The Wall” for the paper, maybe go back to some freelance golf writing, and dinking around with photography. I have no real plans.

To sum it all up, I am sitting in the depot waiting for two trains. One goes to Alzheimer’s City, the other to Dementia Junction. The Big Conductor in the sky will let me know on which I have a reservation. Either way, I’ll be reading The Methow Valley News on the journey.