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Thanks for 12 great years

Twelve and a half years to be exact, I was working in my office on a project for my full-time job as a business consultant when the phone rang. On the other end was a familiar voice with whom I spoke occasionally, Times News editor Bob Urban.

While the exact conversation was not recorded, he said something to the effect, "David, we were wondering if you would like to write a column and perhaps freelance for us."I said, "Bob, I'm flattered, but why me?"He answered, "I have enjoyed your letters in the past. You write well and I think this would be a good opportunity for you. We would like you to write a column on magic, and we need someone to cover Summit Hill meetings."It took me all of two seconds to say, "Yes. I would love to."I did negotiate my column to cover more than magic by pointing out there were only a finite number of columns I could write, and I would not expose inner secrets, so we settled on my column being about magic, the occult and paranormal phenomena, and con artists.Over the years it also expanded to columns about pop culture, movie magic, puzzles, quizzes and Americana as well as some political columns that dealt with the con games politicians play. I also wrote about the magic of being a parent and my family.One of my first columns was a retelling of the old Abbott and Costello routine about $13 and seven pizzas, and that brought more fan mail than Bob's "Back Again" column for a few weeks. I teased at the end of a column that I was so blessed that everyone was reading but they could end the mail as Bob was getting jealous.It was great working for him and he mentored me over the years and hopefully turned me into a better writer. I also remember being flattered when Bob called me on Christmas Eve 2004 to tell me that my feature on coal country stories was picked up by The Associated Press. That was awesome to me.I loved writing my quiz columns and discussing slice-of-life subjects in general. I have lived through the lens of this column for over a decade, sharing my life and thoughts with all of you. It is flattering to walk through stores and have people come up and ask about my daughter and my family and share their experiences.We don't write as much as we used to and that is too bad, but I kept the letters I received. I tried to answer most, but sometimes life just gets away. I have met so many people through this column as well as critics, and I valued everything that people wrote to me. Thank you for your feedback over the years.We have talked about stupid criminals, crazy science, alternate history and the arcane as well. Such topics included pyramids with mathematical significance, the mysticism of numbers and the skepticism of the skeptics as well. I have asked you to think about the possibilities that what we have been told or taught may not be the way things are and to be open-minded. I have tried to write to amuse, entertain and inform.In my other guest writings in "Where We Live," I wrote to provoke, to make you think and hopefully participate and act on subjects and not be just passive sheep. I want us to continue to stand up for our rights and use our voices so they aren't silenced. It is your responsibility as a citizen of this country to not lie down.Speak out for injustices, whether among citizens or the government to its citizens. There is no shortage of either in this day and age.Besides these other topics, some of the most moving columns have been deeply personal to me. I am so grateful to have this outlet as I shared with you the pain and deep sorrow of losing my cousin Lee in a tragic accident, the loss of my grandparents and other family members and what they meant to me. Most of all, the worst event in our lives was lived with you, my readers.In 2004, my wife and I were blessed with the news of a son. Bob allowed me to write a monthly column called "New Beginnings" to share the anticipation of a new father experiencing life for the first time. Tragically the column ended prematurely as we lost our son, Christopher. Sometimes life just doesn't happen the way we want, but I told Bob if I could help someone else not feel alone, it would be worth it.At this point, you may have guessed that this column is different, and you would be correct.Life has changed. Nothing stays the same. It is time for me to say goodbye to this space in the Times News. My circumstances are different and I am no longer able to meet the weekly deadlines and commitments that I have met for the past 12 years.It was very difficult one month ago to write to my new editor, Marta, and tell her it was time to end, but my world is much crazier now than it was a dozen years ago. My daughter is 7 and actively involved, and my family is very important to me.I want to thank Marta for offering me an open door if and when I want to write again. I appreciate the continued support from her, my former editor Bob Urban, the Times News staff and our publisher for giving me this cherished opportunity.I am not going to stop writing totally. I have two long overdue writing projects I want to complete; one is on the history of the cannons in Summit Hill and my cherished and first project which will be publishing a collection of ghost stories about my hometown. You can check out this project if you are interested on my blog at

www.pvparanormalpress.com or at the PV Paranormal Press Facebook page.I will still write letters to the editor and you can write to me at

blackdiamondentertainmentco@gmail.com.Thank you all, my loyal readers, for 12 great years, and this isn't goodbye, it's just till next time …