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So long, for now

My parents’ home, where I grew up, still brings back sharp memories and feelings of long summer days, of the squishy soil and prickly grass beneath my feet running through the sprinkler in the front yard, and of the smack sound a baseball makes when it hits the pocket of my glove just right.

I remember campfires under the stars, and trying to catch falling leaves while jumping on the trampoline, hauling in wood from the shed and the smell of smoke coming from our woodstove curling up into the crisp autumn air.

I think of sledding down our driveway in winter, laying on my back in the snow and staring up at the gray cloudy sky, cracked by the black of tree branches, and playing King of the Mountain with the neighbor kids on top of the snow mounds my dad made by plowing with that old Jeep. Then there was the winter when we built a tunnel that must’ve stretched at least 20 feet beneath the snow in our backyard. No cave-ins, all kids accounted for.

Here at my desk, in the house my wife and I bought, the sun is just coming up and I can see some of the little patches of drywall mud that I could have done a better job of sanding. Here and there, a couple spots of splotchy paintjobs and the little details most people wouldn’t notice. But I see them, because I was there when they were created.

My wife, my family and I have changed this old house into something new. I’m proud of that work, and it’s time to pass it on to someone else to enjoy.

By the time you read this, my last day at The Mining Journal will have come and gone. I’m moving, packing up the house and my worldly things and heading south below the Mighty Mac. Sorry if it’s a shock, but I couldn’t tell you sooner.

Work and the promise of new opportunities in life has made this decision for me, and it’s with mixed emotions that I’m leaving. The Upper Peninsula will always be my home, and I’ll sorely miss it, but the experts out there say the only constant in life is change, and I’d have to agree with them.

By my calculations, Sarah and I have moved seven times in the past eight years, so we’ve seen change in action. We’ve lived in five different municipalities and with both sets of parents, something I’m not crazy about doing again — no offense, moms and dads.

Three of the houses we’ve lived in, including the one from where I’m writing this column now, have been within about three blocks of each other in Marquette. Maybe it’s time for a new town, a new neighborhood, a new adventure.

In preparing for this next step in my life, it’s become clear that I have a strong attachment to places. For me, seeing the physical landmarks make the memories that much more vivid, and leaving these places behind worries me. I fear the treasured memories will fade away to foggy versions of their former selves.

Of course, that fogginess could all be attributed to early onset Alzheimer’s, too, though I’d defer that analysis to the experts.

But still, life must go on.

The newsroom at the Journal will go on, and – all things considered – I’m happy with my time there. Sure, there were challenges and difficulties, and days (and nights) where it was hard to drag myself to the desk, but it was worth it. I’m happy with the work I’ve done and the relationships I’ve built.

I’m happy with the readers who supported me and this column, including the self-proclaimed “president of my fan club,” a nonagenarian named Mrs. Jayne Brady. I appreciate your letters, Mrs. Brady, and I’m grateful for the words of encouragement and feedback I’ve received from other readers out there.

I started this column with doubts that anyone would read it, much less enjoy it – even moderately. But I’m glad some of you have, or at least were kind enough to say that you did.

I’ll keep the memories of my time at the Journal and here in the U.P. for as long as possible. Besides, I’ll only be a half-day’s drive away from home if I ever need a refresher.

I don’t know what life will bring me, but if it gives me lemons, I’ll get some vodka and soda water. I hope you all can do the same and make a party out of something sour.

But, alas, it is time to bring this dog and pony show to a close. I’m no expert at long-winded and wonderfully stated goodbyes, so I’ll simply say this: So long, for now, and should our paths ever cross again, please try not to run me over.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Ryan Jarvi is city editor at The Mining Journal. He lives in Marquette with his wife, Sarah, and their dog, Tino. Contact him at rjarvi@miningjournal.net.