More than 20 years ago, my parents and I decided to take a little jaunt down Highway 78 toward Fulton.
Our destination was to view the work that was under way there – the construction of the Tenn-Tom Waterway.
Pictures that I took on that sunny afternoon now have meaning that I couldn't even begin to imagine more than two decades ago.
Years later, I made the trek again, this time to work with the staff of The Itawamba County Times during a summer of politicking and to participate in the Times' election party.
What started as a temporary assignment turned into six years of the best memories a person could ever hope for.
In writing this column for the last time as general manager of The Times, I'm filled with many emotions.
In a week I will begin a new journey with Journal Publishing Company as associate publisher. For nearly 20 years I've been blessed to have many opportunities in both the daily and weekly newspaper operations of our company.
Where one door closes, the good Lord always opens another, and so it is now.
But closing that door is harder than I thought it would be. When I told friends I was moving to Itawamba County, some asked why I'd ever want to leave the big city and everything it had to offer.
I just smiled and headed across the bridge and never looked back. And there have certainly been no regrets.
What better place to be than in a community where you meet folks on the street to be called by name or drive down the road and everyone you pass raises a hand to wave. Some you may not even know, but it's a testament to the good folks who make this county what it is.
So now as my job changes, I can look at those same friends and say I'm still not moving back to the big city. I've found my home.
I have been blessed with good friends and family here who have made impressions on my heart that will remain forever.
And the Times' staff – there's not enough space to even begin to say what these years have meant to me. We've laughed together, and we've cried together, just as any family would.
From the pressures of deadlines to enduring the sounds of renovation work, we've been there together every day, and it's been the ride of a lifetime.
Sure, the rollercoaster goes up and down, slows down, speeds up and then goes round and round.
But when it's all said and done, it's probably been my favorite ride – the one you save the ticket stub for as a keepsake.
And while my new job will allow me to still work in the overall management of our weekly papers, it will be different from creating a new product each week from that blank piece of newsprint.
Indeed I will miss those late Tuesday afternoons, sitting in my office and watching readers drive up to the Times' rack to pick up their hometown paper.
But I'll leave that and other memories knowing that new ones will be made here under the leadership of Alisha Wilson.
My mama always had trouble finding folks to work at the paper when I was young, so she just decided to grow her own.
In ways, I see many similarities today having watched Alisha come up through the ranks working in every area of the paper.
I'm proud to be able to turn the reins over to her capable hands and also because of her commitment to and love for Itawamba County and this newspaper.
And I look forward to seeing what she and her staff create each week.
Next week I probably won't be able to wait to get my paper on Wednesday and may turn into one of those Tuesday afternoon rack visitors myself.
But that's next week – it's Monday night now and there are still deadlines to meet and this week's paper to finish up and put to bed.
And as I leave the office Friday evening, my heart will surely be saying “Thanks for the memories.”