Celebrate with a dance when it’s time to write -30-

Johnnie Bachusky

When my pal ‘Big D’ took to the dance floor at a New Year’s Eve bash two months ago I eyed him with envy.

Big D is about my age, not in the greatest of shape and was working through a painful degenerative disc condition.

But he had this joyous youthful twinkle in his eye while his body spun and gyrated to the music that belied any of his physical challenges. Sadly, my aches and pains forced me to sit all night. I begged my Higher Power there would be better days for me.

And today there are. My own physical challenges are resolved. My mind is free from misery. And there are many, many great stories waiting to be told and written.

But this story ends with a special -30-, the long held symbol in the newspaper business that denotes a story is finished. And indeed that is how my story unfolds today with the Red Deer Express.

This is my final column for this great newspaper, and last official duty as editor. I am moving on to an exciting new chapter in my life. It has been a great nine plus years at the Express. In fact, it has been the best and most productive stop in my 32-year media career. And for that I will be forever grateful to Black Press and its predecessor Great West Newspapers.

What I will miss most is the notion that as a newspaper man I was entrusted with the responsibility to serve the Red Deer community. It was never just a job. It was an honour. If I ever think for an ego –driven moment on the ways and means I may have contributed a thing or two to the community I must always remember how much more was repeatedly and freely given to me in more ways than I can count. And for that I am especially grateful.

What is also important for me to remember though is that while I move on with energy and promise so does this newspaper. The Express is in great hands with Black Press and its future prosperity has never looked better.

I have never forgotten what Karl Sepkowski, my first news director at Huron Broadcasting in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., told me in 1980. “Geezus Bachusky, no one is indispensable.” Karl’s line was a great ego deflator, and my professional life has been a whole lot easier since.

What comes next is my new work and role in the community, in any way that will be of benefit to my fellows. Red Deer is on the cusp of a spectacular future as it nears its centennial in 2013. In a few days we will see the grand opening of the long awaited new downtown RCMP headquarters. Soon we will at last witness some visible action down in the Riverlands area, where big dreams for the City were first put forward in 2007 and debated with unprecedented passion.

I’m hoping Mayor Morris Flewwelling and City Manager Craig Curtis will grab and run with Paul Pettypiece’s bold vision outlined in his Forth Junction Heritage Society initiative. And while they are at it they should give Ken Mandrusiak and Jack Donald a call. These guys are the City’s beautiful dreamers who rightly think forever big.

In a less public and smaller way, I too want to be part of these dreams. I too love this community, and as a committed and loyal citizen I can humbly contribute as well.

In the meantime, I have another notion. While there is a time to work and contribute there should also be moments to play, meditate and relax. Since this is a time for personal renewal why not try something new? I may have the ticket. I think I will just dance.



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