Don't know if you saw Cindi Scoppe's very touching column about me today. I pass on the link in case you missed it.
It means even more to me than you might think because, as she notes, she's not the sort to butter up the boss (certainly not one who's leaving), or anybody else. Cindi refers to herself as the "designated mean bitch" around here, which of course is entirely (or almost entirely) inaccurate. I prefer to think of her as tough-minded, which is what makes her one of the best in the business.
I'll tell you a little anecdote — Cindi was the first person (and just about the only one) to welcome me my first day on the job here. As Gordon Hirsch (a frequent commenter here) informed me, I was regarded as the "Knight-Ridder spy" because I was the first editor to come from another KR paper. It didn't matter that I had left Wichita the way Lot left Sodom. It was a lousy working situation, and I never looked back. But many here were convinced I was the corporate guy, so I got a lot of suspicious looks. (When I explained to Gordon how ridiculous it was, he shook his head and said none of that mattered. Far as scuttlebutt was concerned, I was the spy, so I might as well get used to it.) But Cindi, all of 23 years old at the time, strides through that cloud of suspicion right up to me, sticks out her hand and makes it clear that she, for one, was glad to have me here.
So it's fitting that she should bid me a public farewell. She didn't care who knew she was glad to meet me, and isn't a bit shy to let folks know she's sorry to see me go. And I've appreciated it both times.
While I'm thanking people, I have to apologize because in all the craziness of last week, I never got around to thanking Bob McAlister for the kind words that he wrote on his blog, which we published as an online-only column (online-only because we had recently run a column of his in the paper, so he was under our "30-day" guideline).
Bob, as I recall, regarded me a good deal more warily than Cindi, upon first meeting me. He was the communications chief — later chief of staff — for Gov. Carroll Campbell. It was his duty to be suspicious. But over the years we've fought a few battles together and become good friends. Bob is one of many such friends who have reached out and offered to do whatever they can to help in recent days, and in his case has actually taken action to ease my transition to … well, to whatever comes next.
Anyway, I wanted to be sure to thank both Cindi and Bob for thinking so kindly of me, from their differing perspectives.