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Posted: July 24, 2011 12:00 a.m.

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Two roads diverged

Most Americans who are older than 60 and attended public schools are familiar with Robert Frost's poem "The Road Less Traveled". It begins:

"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth."

For 12 years, it has been my privilege to write a weekly column for The Covington News. A youthful sports editor, Brian Knapp, entreated me to write a sport commentary in January, 1999. Eventually, it became my privilege to share my opinions on the editorial page.
But all things come to an end. Today marks my last column.

By virtue of having started in 1999, I can truthfully say I've enjoyed being a newspaper columnist for two centuries. It'll make for a puzzling obituary entry one day, I'm sure.

One of the amazing things I've learned over the years is how far something in our local paper can reach. Another is how an ordinary schoolteacher and airline employee can form long-distance relationships via letters and emails with readers in far-flung locales.

I've met some interesting folks.

I once wrote of the tragic murder of a young Georgia girl in West Africa while she was serving in the Peace Corps. Since then various members of her family and I have kept in touch.

A column regarding tolerance of religious sects sparked comments from as far away as Oregon and Washington state. Various references to baseball, music and philosophy have opened windows to some wonderful long-distance, correspondence-type friendships.

Most of all, I treasure and value the heartfelt relationships local readers have graced me with over the years.

All of you have contributed more to me than I've given back to you. A handshake at church, a thumbs-up from a passing car, a letter, a phone call, a lunch, all of these small gestures from you have enriched my life immeasurably. Your embrace has been, and will always be, gratifying.

"I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence;
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference."

So ends Robert Frost's wondrous poem.

Although I have no idea where the road less traveled will continue to take me, I will treasure the folks I've met along the way during these 12-plus years of sharing my innermost, honest opinions with you every week.

May God bless all of you.

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