My, how time flies.
It has been 10 years since we left Thomson, and now we come back for a third time.
Do we like this place or what?
One of the things we have always enjoyed about Thomson and Augusta is the Southern hospitality. You do not see that anywhere else. I have lived all over the Southeast, and you just do not see this in other places.
When I was interviewing in Augusta for The Mirror position, I had an agenda for the interviewing process that lasted almost seven hours. That was a daunting task, until you throw in the hospitality factor. Everyone was very cordial and made sure I was comfortable. That was just the first interview day, but as I was heading back to Easley, S.C., I thought, "What a wonderful experience."
That was just the first day of the process. Two weeks later I went back to interview with three corporate employees, including Morris Publishing President Will Morris. Once again, I was on the way back to South Carolina.
It could have been an intimidating experience, but that Southern hospitality showed up again.
At the end of the second day I was offered this job.
This is going to be good.
I will also tell you this: The Augusta Chronicle building is huge. It has so many nooks and crannies and staircases that I got more exercise in those two days than I have in a long time. Even after approximately 12-13 hours in the place, I can find the front door, Human Resources (just inside the front), and very little else. But it'll get better.
A lot has changed, and at the same time a lot has remained the same. That is good. All the work on Washington Road and the new courthouse being built are exciting.
Not so exciting, as I am hearing, is the bypass. This was a controversy when I was here before, and I guess it still is. The new housing developments on Whiteoak Road are good to see. I haven't had the opportunity to tour the entire county yet to see what else has changed, but I will soon.
My goal for this newspaper will be, first, to continue the fine job former publisher Jason Smith has done the past several years. He has turned this newspaper into a quality, well-respected product, and I will carry on that mission.
We will be producing a fair news product and our reporters will be taking the "middle of the road" journalism approach.
We will try to include a few more features about the people of McDuffie County rather than just the hard news. It will be entertaining.
Advertising opportunities might be adjusted and perhaps increased to help move products off your shelves. Advertising is fun, and you get to meet a lot of people with different personalities.
My first stay here was for just two years, and I did just that. I was gone for five years and wondered if anyone would remember me. They did, and it felt like I had never left. Now, after having been gone for 10 years, I am finding the same thing. I hope to never test your memory skills again.