Scoop is back in town.
It's been a little more than a month and the adjustment period continues, but it's great to be back home.
The journey has been a long one. I began working on my semi-retirement plan last summer. After surviving a few bumps along the road, it all came together.
First, people surprised me by calling me out by name, even not living here for 24 years. It seemed like I never left.
While I needed to get away from 14-hour days and seven-day work weeks, I still can do what I enjoy, sports, but I don't mind the news' assignments.
Most of the spring involved keeping up with the local track and field teams. I did a couple of baseball games and one softball game at the Heber Springs Athletic Complex, plus the meetings.
We need to appreciate the people who made the complex happen. Some towns larger than Heber Springs don't have a facility to match it.
My last year was eventful and capped by two surprises. I received the Texas Girls Coaches Association Division 2 Sportswriter of the Year award in July. The Snyder High School athletic department presented me with a plague of appreciation at the final home basketball in February.
My Texas experience is memorable and opened doors to meet some of the most well-known sports personalities.
I hate to list names, fearing someone will be left off. Retired Baylor football coach Grant Teaff was one of the first. Snyder is his home town and he comes back frequently. The Teaff family presents a scholarship every year to a graduating football senior.
Covering Texas Tech football was an adventure and ended with a reunion with a former player I covered at Searcy, Jim Mark Nichols.
Another memory is my friendship with Sonny Cumbie, who grew up in Snyder and he led the Red Raiders to a bowl game win in his final season against the University of California and Aaron Rodgers. Cumbie is now the offensive coordinator at TCU.
I rubbed shoulders with David Baugh, the son of the legendary Sammy Baugh. David Baugh was head coach at Snyder from 1989 to 2001. The last two years his grandson, Logan Greene, was the starting quarterback.
Greene wore No. 33, his great-grandfather's number, and I answered questions almost daily why a quarterback wore that number to other media members.
I arrived in Snyder at the right time when the football teams advanced to the state semifinals twice, including 2004 when the game was played at old Texas Stadium.
The girls' golf team won back-to-back state championships. During my time there, the girls' team were state runner-up five times.
The baseball team gave me an opportunity for my first visit to Austin and watched it win the state championship. They beat Michael Wacha, who now pitches for the St. Louis Cardinals.
I've been one of the luckiest writers on earth. Starting with coverage of the 1981 Heber Springs pony league team that went undefeated and won the state championship.
One of my favorite teams was the West Side Eagles, who won the 1983 state basketball championship. The Eagles were undefeated under coach Charles Brady until losing to Camden Fairview at the overall tournament.
I covered a football game involving Notre Dame while working in West Virginia.
When I returned to Searcy, I will not forget the boys' basketball team that won a state championship, led by
Alex Webber, who played at Oklahoma State.
While in Tulsa, I covered one of the top high school football programs in the country -- Jenks.
Time is creeping up on me and I get to finish my career at the place I started. Thanks to Dawn Teer and Gatehouse Media for making it happen. I will never forget the late Joel Irwin, whose family owned the Cleburne County Times and launched my career.
However, I still have life left and look forward to writing about accomplishments, news and sports, in Cleburne County and the surrounding area.
It's great to be at home again.