Over the last few weeks I have thought a lot about what I would write for my first editorial of 2009. It's not like I suffered from a lack of ideas - quite the opposite really.
The problem lied somewhere between knowing where to begin and where to end. I had the middle part nailed down pretty tight - or so I thought anyway.
When I started typing this column over the holiday weekend, for some reason it started out as a "year in review" type of story. A lot has happened in 2008 - in the world, around our communities, and in my own life.
In looking back I don't see it as a year that fits neatly into a "good or bad" category - to me, it was a year defined by extremes.
It was about a year ago this week that I drove to Elizabethtown to interview for the position of editor for the News Enterprise. As luck would have it, Mother Nature decided to make my evening trek up there a little more interesting with a last-minute snow storm.
As our intrepid John Gereau met me in the Denton lobby he asked how the roads were. For lack of a better response and not wanting to say what was really on my mind, I simply replied, "Well, I only had to set my coffee down twice so they can't be that bad."
In retrospect, it was a fitting introduction to the last year of my life.
A reader stopped me at Tannery Pond this weekend and said, "You know, I love reading your editorials but just when I think you're really going to take the gloves off and blast somebody, you stop short. It's funny - for some reason I really enjoy it."
So why is that?
To me the answer is pretty easy and it's a reflection of how I have approached my role as the editor of a small town newspaper.
When I took this job last year one my "big goals" was to give the paper an "editorial presence." I wanted the News Enterprise to be a reflection of our community but at the same time I wanted people to know that if they had a complaint, a tip for a story, a suggestion, or a kind word - that I was the person to call.
In looking back at 2008, and ahead to 2009, I look at the last year of our lives through what is very much My View of things.
Some of the events in 2008 gave us cause to celebrate and some we would rather put behind us. In the end as this paper is opened a week from now, it will mark the beginning of a new year for all of us.
To the people that have helped me this last year, and accepted me - I extend my heartfelt thanks. To the friends and associates I have not met yet; well, I look forward to including you in my look back at 2009. And to everyone else, I wish you the best as we open a new chapter in our lives.
Since my first trip to Elizabethtown a year ago, I've had a few more occasions where I needed to "set my coffee down."
I certainly don't expect 2009 to be any different but being able to anticipate some of life's little "bumps in the road" sure beats spilling a hot drink in my lap.
Brett Hagadorn is editor of the North Creek News Enterprise. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org