Three years used to seem like a long time. As more of my hair turns gray and my younger children become older children, I am finding that three years isn’t what it used to be.
When I was going through college, I thought three years was a long time.
As I get older, one of my favorite pastor’s favorite phrases makes more sense.
“The days are long and the years are short.”
I have had some really long days in my three years in Shawnee. There is something you need to know about a press. When they break down, it is always at a bad time and it is always expensive to fix.
I spent one night with a squirt bottle spraying water at a spinning cylinder to make sure the image looked right on paper. I can’t tell you how many days I have spent at least a little time on a forklift making room for ads we insert into the newspaper.
I didn’t see that one coming when I moved back to Oklahoma from Kansas three years ago.
But while some of the days have been really long, the years have been short. It seems like just yesterday that one of our ad reps told me my leather jacket made me look like Michael Jackson. Of all of the things I expected to happen on my first day, that wasn’t on the list. I wish I could report that I started singing the chorus to “Billy Jean” and moonwalked across the front office, but my skills don’t stretch that far.
When I got to Shawnee Jan. 5 of 2015:
• OBU was an NAIA program. Now the Bison participate at the NCAA DII level.
• St. Gregory’s was an NAIA program. Now St. Gregory’s has suspended operations because of financial problems.
• Shawnee baseball hadn’t won a 5A State Championship. Now they have three in a row. This will be the first year I have lived in Shawnee that the Wolves didn’t win a 5A title. I can only say that with certainty because they have moved to 6A this year. The 5A teams will get a new champion for the first time in years.
• Kickapoo was in the middle of a long resurfacing project. I can still remember the constant complaints as people struggled to drive on one of the city’s main roads. It seems like just yesterday.
• Streetscape hadn’t started downtown. Now it’s finished. For the businesses that struggled with limited access, the project seemed to take forever.
So many things have changed in three short years. But it isn’t just the community that has changed around us. The News-Star has seen its own changes.
Our print circulation is significantly higher now than it was when I arrived. We have 1,100 digital subscribers. We have almost 13,000 Facebook fans. In three years, we have increased our digital traffic from 3.6 million page views to 5.65 million in 2017.
In three years, I have written about 450 columns, covered at least that many sporting events and chased breaking news all over three counties. I’ve loved almost every minute of it.
Time flies when you’re having fun. Maybe that’s why these three years have felt like a long weekend.
If the next three years are anything like the past three years, I would be fine with it.