He sauntered over to me as I stood talking to a couple of friends in the Thomson Depot last Friday.
He waited patiently as we laughed and reminisced, choosing just the right moment. Slowly he reached into the pocket of his electric blue blazer and pulled out a small, yellowed box.
"I want you to have this," Jim Rivers said, pulling off the top and peeling back layers of tissue paper to reveal a clear cylinder.
In it was a silver coin.
It's three years older than I am, coined by a local bank in 1970 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of McDuffie County. He said he wanted me to take it with me on the path to my new career so I'd always have a part of McDuffie County with me.
I've called McDuffie County home for more than 30 years, and many memories came flooding back as various people stopped in to wish me well. Their thoughts were heartfelt, and their compliments about The Mirror were great to hear.
But seeing people also meant I got to answer a question that has become a familiar refrain in my life: What's going to happen at The Mirror ?
The answer is simple: It will be delivered to homes and racks across McDuffie every Thursday. And it'll keep an updated Web site that gathers more than 40,000 hits each month.
In other words, it will be just fine.
As for who will be publisher, the final answer should come in a few weeks.
In the meantime, my cohort (and former co-worker) at The Columbia County News-Times, Publisher Barry Paschal, will also serve as interim publisher for The Mirror .
By the way, I've got two things to make up for from last Friday.
First, July 31 was my mom's birthday, which I didn't acknowledge during the event.
Second, I need to thank my wife. She's been a very patient partner during my newspaper career, which took me away from home at all hours.
Friday's event allowed her to throw a little deja vu my way. When I graduated from college and left the college newspaper behind, she talked to various co-workers, college leaders and others and asked them to write little notes to me. She compiled them into a scrapbook, which was presented to me during a gathering at a friend's house.
Fast forward 12 years, and I sat on my living room sofa late Friday, reading through another scrapbook, filled with comments of co-workers and friends.
One of those was from Albert Ross Jr., one of my groomsmen and a former journalist himself. It's a line from his letter that will stick in my head: "We'll miss your by-lines, but the world has a bigger canvas for you."
I've said it before, but I swear I can't say it enough: Thank you McDuffie County -- and those outside the lines of McDuffie County -- for everything.