Everybody gets a turn

As many of you know, I retired for good and all after nine years on the Maryville Forum news staff on Sept. 17, my 64th birthday, and as a result have been way busier than I ever wanted to be.

For the first day or two, there were the inevitable journalistic chores to complete at the newspaper in an effort to make things as easy as possible for the staff after my departure. This was stuff I could have let slide, but as everybody knows, except the current occupant of the White House, integrity is hell.

Then there was the inevitable farewell reception, which I begged publisher Phil Cobb not to do, but of course he did anyway. Half of official Maryville and Nodaway County showed up, and I was, to tell the truth, quite flattered and even a little teary. They gave me a plaque. Imagine that – Tony Brown with a plaque.

In the days running up to my retirement, I also managed to squeeze in a two-day float trip on Jacks Fork river in the heart of the Missouri Ozarks with some old friends.

With this damn chemo therapy I go through the trip beat me up pretty bad. And I’m so weak these days I don’t think I want to do it again anytime soon. But it was, not to be too morbid or anything, a wonderful farewell to that longstanding part of my life.

The float, plus dinner with my wonderful cousins in Jefferson City, was followed by minor surgery and two days in the hospital, which was a good thing, since a fairly new procedure allowed my doctors to use a catheter to reach and poison my only remaining active malignancy.

It’s a similar procedure to the installation of a heart stint and went like clockwork. But for the rest of the week I felt like I’d gone two rounds with Mike Tyson.

Then there was today.

Our car, I learned last oil change, needed a new ball joint, so I dropped my wife, Venus, off at work and then deposited our sole set of wheels at the Chevy garage downtown.

They ran me back home, where I got on the Harley in order to turn in my newspaper-owned Mac notebook before rolling down to the digital repair shop to pick up my personal laptop, which I had handed over to them several days earlier for a much-needed upgrade. Typing on it now.

But of course the damn computer wouldn’t fit inside the Harley’s small saddlebags, so I walked the laptop south four blocks to the garage, where I discovered the car was ready to go.

I settled the bill – for some reason they insist on that – but was then faced with the prospect of leaving the car there or driving two vehicles at once, something the Missouri Highway Patrol frowns upon.

As things ended up, I herded the car home and walked the mile or so down Buchanan Street to the parking lot across from the computer joint on North Main in order to retrieve the Harley.

That’s the longest trek I’ve made since my cancer diagnosis almost two years ago. It took nearly an hour, and I was so damn proud when I finally got to the bike. Be sore as heck tomorrow, though.

Here’s the deal:

Forty-four years ago I darn near (too many damns in this piece already) ran up an 800-foot-high Current River bluff so I could kiss a pretty girl and watch the sun set over the riffles. It was an adventure amid a week of adventures that included catching a huge brown trout and falling seriously in love.

These days, my adventures consist of walking – very slowly – across a dozen blocks of flat pavement.

As Venus likes to say, “everybody gets a turn.” Thank you, Forum readers, for giving me mine.