I have been reflecting back on the fact that it has been five years to the day that I began the ride of my life as the publisher of Athens Now. March 18th, 2011 was the first time I stared down a Publication Week, and I was not sure I was going to get through it with my sanity intact, let alone the sanity of the precious crew that I inherited when Steve and I bought the paper.
For those of you who may be interested in what is known in the biz as the “back story,” Athens Now: Information and Inspiration was started in 2077 by Wayne and Deborah Huff. I began to write for them in 2010, doing the front cover advertorials, copy editing, and an occasional op-ed piece. In 2011, the paper came up for sale, and we just knew that this was the next step for us. All I knew how to do was write, and the rest of it– the “putting the paper to bed” stuff, came by trial, error, and what can only be described as “flying by the seat of my pants, and my pants are on fire,” as my WWII pilot daddy and I used to say.
The journey, as well as the nearly vertical learning curve, have been one of the most intense I have ever encountered, as well as one of the most satisfying. I get people coming up to me all the time, saying, “I read your paper from cover to cover, every edition.” I am humbled by that—I am so keenly aware of the fact that I could not do it without Steve, Deborah Huff when she was handling sales, our columnists, our supernaturally patient production guy, Jon Hamilton of Curb Appeal Graphics, my adopted kiddo Rachel Clark, who writes the Med Updates and does copy editing, Kevin Blurton of the Times Daily in Florence, and my spunky webmistress, Teddy Wolcott, and, well, just all of you. Most of all, I could not do it without my Savior, which brings me to the real “point of the Point.”
Spring has sprung, no doubt about it, and I, for one, am ready for it. As the trees along the roads and highways of North Alabama dance in the breeze, displaying their tender blossoms, the tulips and daffodils are pushing up, demonstrating that they are once again truly unstoppable, and there is no room for going back to the bleak doldrums of Winter. The weather responds to the “dance” by being wild, mild, and wonderful. Sometimes, like life itself, it becomes unmanageable, and there are voluminous lessons in that.
However, the true hope of Spring isn’t the fleeting visual pleasure of floral triumph against all odds; it is what happened thousands of years ago, first on Passover, and then, with the Resurrection. Against all odds, Israel escaped, and will escape again. Against all odds, our Savior escaped, and because of that, we can escape. One of my favorite Psalms says, “Our soul is escaped, as a bird, out of the snare of the fowler. The snare is broken, and we are escaped, our help is in the name of the Lord.” I would say that escape is one of the unalterable themes of Spring, and let us enjoy it with abandon.
We are observing political madness of historical proportions, the threat of nuclear attack, a global economic house of cards, and the strong possibility that it will get worse before it gets better, but, the true hope of Spring is that Someone thought we were dying for, and if we just cooperate with Him, live or die, we shall triumph. The Happiest of Springs and a blessed Resurrection to you all, my dear Athenians, and thank you for a fabulous five years!