When I retired in late 2008 after almost 36 years with the Tribune, I was able to go on and do several really neat part-time jobs — including working at a funeral home, a travel agency and a garden center. And the bonus was that the Tribune hierarchy was nice enough to allow me to continue to write a Sunday column for 12 more years.
But in January of this year, the paper decided to cut back my columns to every other week to save a little money. I thought that was a message to me that maybe my usefulness was coming to an end. I was OK with it. I opted to retire — again.
I probably needed a break from writing anyway. Besides the weekly columns, I had just finished a short novel. It felt like I might be getting a little stale.
A few months passed. I realized I was missing the pure joy that comes with creating a good story. I also was missing the connection with longtime readers.
Thus the creation of this website. I plan on writing a weekly column and sharing my novel on it while being joined in print by other veteran writers and friends.
To be honest, it’s a work in progress. It will take some time to make the website what we really want. But in the meantime, we hope you will continue to visit Moor and More. Totally free to you. A labor of love for us.
For regular readers of my past columns, I’m so glad you are reconnecting with me and my friends again. For new readers, I hope we capture your interest enough for you to return.
One thing I do know: It’s time for me to get back to telling stories about the people and places in our great community..
It really did happen, didn’t it?
I’m talking about 2016.
“You know what you always said,” my wife points out in the middle of one of my moans. “Everything after 2016 was going to be gravy.”
She’s right, of course. After my Cubs (and maybe your Cubs, too) won the World Series that year, I wouldn’t be asking the baseball gods for any more miracles. My impossible dream had come true. And yes, everything else would be gravy.
That gravy seems pretty runny right now, though.
Kris Bryant … gone. Javy Baez … gone. And worst of all, Anthony Rizzo, the face and the steadfast figure of the Cubs’ rise from the ashes … gone. To the Yankees, no less.
There are other significant “goners,” too, but those three were the guts and grit and gallantry of the Cubs during their six straight appearances in the playoffs, including winning the whole enchilada in that magical year of 2016.
Yeah, I know, it’s a business. Rizz and the others knew the writing was on the wall. And none of them beat their heads against that wall. After a few heartfelt hugs, they all looked pretty happy with their landing spots.
I’ll still continue to be a Cub fan but there may never be another more successful — or likable — group of players than the ones who just left.
We’ll see how it goes. What was the joke going around: The Cubs just traded their outfield ivy for two starter plants and a bush to be named later?
“Gravy,” my wife repeats.
A gag reflex from me quickly follows.
Karen McKibbin was one of those teachers who made you want to go back to school — no matter how old your were.
She taught for 41 years in all — 30 of those at LaSalle High School where she garnered such honors as the Indiana State Teacher of the Year and the Sagamore of the Wabash, the latter presented by then Governor Robert Orr.
But teaching wasn’t about the awards for Karen. It was all about her students — making them not only better but more enthusiastic about the chemistry she taught and their educations in general. Her husband Scott said she could erase the blackboard with her right hand while simultaneously jotting down a complex formula with her left.
She was a dynamo with so much positive energy and such a wonderful laugh.
That’s why it’s hard to believe that she died last month at the age of 71. She was so full of life that, according to one friend, she didn’t even know she had cancer until two weeks before she passed away.
I will fondly remember Karen as the quiz master during the monthly trivia night at St. Peter’s United Church of Christ. She kept the crowd in stitches while sometimes giving me the evil eye if I was a little too slow in getting my team’s answers up to her.
She made life a little more fun for those around her. And, maybe more importantly, she made learning — even on trivia nights — an adventure.