Greetings from the Gulf: April

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My time has come

By John Morton

Greetings from the Gulf has transitioned to Greetings from the Golf — as in the 16th hole of the Tampa Palms Golf & Country Club.
A darn nice view for sure, but it’s not the same. Unlike here, hitting the drink and then the sand was actually a good thing on Siesta Key.
But this is where life has taken me these days, watching after Mom following my father’s passing. It also marks the time for me to end my career as a journalist after what was fast-approaching 40 years. Goodness.

Yes, I’d be 59 and living in my mother’s basement if only such a thing existed in these parts. Instead, I reckon I’ll just have to hope for one of them-there sink holes to show up.
I’ve kept this departure quiet for the most part. At one point, I did attempt to tell people I was the outgoing editor but I received a curious reaction:
“Yeah, you seem friendly enough, but what a weird thing to brag about.”
No, not that kind of outgoing — my love of a double entendre notwithstanding. The leaving kind. Instead, I suppose I could say I’m retiring from this. Or quitting. But those words don’t seem right in this case.
For me, life as a writer simply has seemed to have run its course.
What I do cherish is the fact that I capped-off a reporting career in the place that means everything to me. Most everyone I know who were my newspaper colleagues have long-since bailed from our dying industry.
Instead, I was able to put a cherry on top with three-plus years on Siesta Key. And they clearly were three important years to chronicle as far as the island’s history is concerned.
Speaking of bragging, my journalism life has seen some darn good timing. For example: as the brand-new sports editor of the Green Bay Press Gazette, the team ended a 29-year Super Bowl drought during my first year.
Coincidence? Oh, sure. Like Anna’s Deli just-so happened to expand (like me!) while I was here.
Fate, baby!
More evidence: Back in Green Bay, the streets were lined with cars following that Packers triumph. Now, fast-forwarding to 2024, sure enough I’ve heard rumors that Siesta Key’s streets are also packed to the gills.
A parade for me? Aw, shucks.
Kidding aside, I figured I’d be writing my last column as some sort of opus. Upon further review, going through my Siesta-themed photos, I’m leaning more toward “dopus.”
After all, my life here had been mostly downright silly and fun. How I was able to get anything done with my job in such a setting amazes me. My greatest accomplishment, indeed.
That’s me, circa 1980, in front of Harbor Towers. Part Joe Cool, mostly Capt. Cheeseball. And who dressed me? Still, clearly positioning myself to be the someday editor of the Siesta Sand. Talk about destiny.

On the job front, thanks go out to Brion Palmer. Todd Zerega, Noel Twyman, Hannah Wallace, Ned Steele, ChrisAnn Allen, and a million of them to Jane Bartnett.
Same goes to Mark Smith, who always answered my inquiries.
On the fun front, thanks to Bobby Schneck, my musical director. And Larry Frankel, who’s the bomb.
And finally, great gratitude goes to all of you, the readers, who have rallied around this thriving publication. It has been quite the honor.

John Morton
Author: John Morton

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