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Karl, how could you do this to us?

“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” — Mark Twain

I wondered what I would write about in my next article for January 2014. I didn’t have the slightest idea what the New Year would bring. I’m getting an inkling —change.

I had waxed poetic to a couple of my friends. I told them I found out what the word daybreak meant in the Bible. It means the day breathes. I had to think about it for a while, and then I had a Holy Ghost “aha” moment. I told them, “The day is alive, it breathes for us. All we have to do is live in the breath of the day, live in the rhythm of God’s heartbeat and we will experience life. We can’t experience God in yesterday or tomorrow, we only live in today’s breath.”

It all sounded good. I told them it was easy to do. Then a phone call and a newspaper reading in the same day quickly challenged my poetic bent. I realized I didn’t like the way the day was breathing for me.

I think it’s easier to handle things when it’s the familiar and it’s the same old, same old. The phone call said things had changed. Corporate had hired a new manager, and she was making changes. She would be replacing my art classes for a few months. My supervisor assured me she would fight for me. She understands the guests, and how many come to Pagosa year after year because they offer art lessons and how they accommodate their guests.

Then, I picked up the newspaper and lo and behold, I saw Karl Isberg thrown over his desk with RIP. It scared me to death. I couldn’t believe my eyes. How could you do this to us, Karl? You can’t stop and retire. Not now; we’re expecting things to be the same. I know it’s been 26 years sitting at the same desk in the same office at the same SUN news. I noticed in the picture, your hand next to your coffee cup; you hadn’t finished your coffee yet. You can’t go.

You’ve been my friend for six years. You took a chance on me when I was a novice writer. You told me your biggest concern about a new column was my sustainability. I told you not to worry. I knew I had plenty of material to write about. I’m an artist and I live with Sweet Al and a dog named Whiskey on the Lower Blanco in Pagosa. There’s plenty to write about.

You’ve covered my backside many times. Before I knew how to write, I was writing. I don’t know why I didn’t think I might embarrass myself with my limited formal education and lack of discretion. You understood, and you corrected many typos and awkward sentences. You made me look better than I am. I’d said, “The title is feeble, change it if you want to.” You did and made them better.

I was so excited about writing that I’d send several articles ahead of schedule. It’s been a game with me. The romance in writing these crazy articles is still alive in me, and I’m hitting 256 articles for the Artist’s Lane. I’m not ready to quit; I’ve just got started.

Then, I was driven to have a faith column in the newspaper. I asked you if I could. You said, “Only if you can get faith writers, then we’ll see. I don’t want the same writer every week.” I did, and we’ve been going strong for 194 weeks. You allowed us to write our faith about Jesus. You didn’t change the message. We wrote strong words at times. You took it to print as we wrote them. This is rare for a newspaper. I wrote to the faith writers and told them, “You need to write while we have the freedom to write our faith. You never know what might happen.” Few took advantage of your generosity. Now what?

There were times I asked a favor of you. “Could you slide this event or announcement in for this week’s newspaper, I know it’s 4 o’clock on a Monday and the cut off is 12 noon?”

Our grandsons and all the others in Pagosa sports couldn’t wait for Thursdays. They wanted to see how they did in their stats for the week and what was said about them in the newspaper. You covered every game and reported on them, even sent our daughter, Allison Wylie, to take pictures at the state wrestling and other sports events.

Karl, how could you do this to us? You know it’s all about us. It’s not about you.

I thought your sustainability would far surpass mine. I asked you once, “I’ve written a hundred articles so far, how many have you written?” You chuckled and said, “Thousands. I quit counting a long time ago.”

When I read about your retirement, I said to my Sweet Al, “Maybe I won’t have a job writing after the first of the year. Karl’s the one who believed in me. Maybe, our faith articles will be censored. I have always been thankful to him for printing them as they were.”

What else will happen in 2014? I know the day breathes for us, because God said it. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for making it possible for our family to do what we do.

I pray for you that you will have many days breathing for you. You are a dear friend. I want to say thank you from me and my family.

Final Brushstroke: Take advantage of the day. Make it count for you. The only way we experience the breath in the day, is in this day.

Send your comments to betty@bettyslade.com.

This story was posted on January 9, 2014.