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Family Man - Saying farewell to the Standard
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This is it. After 28 years on the job as your crime and courts reporter for the Southern Standard, I’m bidding my career farewell.

I’d always wondered how I would word my final column. I mean, despite serving longer in this position than anyone (than we can find anyway) has ever served, I knew there’d be a day when I’d have to say goodbye to the job I love and move on to something else. They say a man should reinvent himself every 10 years. Math tells me I’m a couple of decades overdue.

So, what to write about? Should I be sentimental and talk about how I’m going to miss sitting at my desk every day, turning a blank sheet of paper (actually it’s now a blank video monitor) into a story thousands will read.

Should I be that old guy and talk about how technology has changed during my time here, going from having to laboriously develop our own black-and-white pictures in the darkroom to using the latest in digital technology where I can cover a story and have it before your eyes in an instant through the magic of the internet?

Should I talk about the crazy things I’ve seen since assuming the position back in March of 1990? I mean, I’ve seen it all during my time, some things that are stranger that even my alter-ego R.D. Sherrill could dream up in one of his novels.

Actually, after debating what to write, I settled on a subject – dust. As I dug through the memories on my desk on Tuesday, dust filled the air, sending reporter Lisa Hobbs running for allergy medicine. As I dug deeper through the layers of stuff like an Egyptologist digging beneath the shifting sands around the pyramids, choosing which to keep and which to trash, it hit me how much of my life has been spent right here. The Standard is about the only job I’ve known aside from some stints in sales and banking.

I began here quite by accident. I came in to put in a yard sale for my mother and decided to put in an application since I needed money to go to law school. However, I never quite made it to law school as I got addicted to covering the courts and police.

Funny thing was, I originally applied for the sports job here and was convinced to babysit the crime and courts job until the sports job came open. Since that time, the sports job has been open on 25 occasions while the crime and courts job has remained filled. I chose to dance with the date that brought me.
So, this is it. While it might sound egotistical coming from me, this marks the end of an era. Thanks for reading my stories and columns over the years. It’s been a heck of a ride but don’t worry, R.D. Sherrill will continue churning out the books and I may even try my hand at blogging. After all, ink flows through my veins.

Duane Sherrill served as crime and courts reporter for the Standard for 28 years.