I can’t leave you with a bad goodbye. That was my first thought when I learned that Lonestartimes.com was going to shut down. We’ll see if I can live up to the challenge of Clint Black and Wynonna.
As the prodigal son of this eclectic group, let me say first that I’ve missed you guys this past year. I’ve missed the banter, the chatter, the banal comments, and even the criticism. Probably missed the criticism the most, although I still manage to get plenty of that in my current blogging residence.
When I think of Lonestartimes.com, the first thing that comes to mind is family. You guys, commenters, lurckers, and “front pagers” alike, know exactly what I mean by that. I suppose a stranger stumbling upon this place would find that statement surprising, because most of us have never met in person and never will. Heck, I’ve never even met most of the “front pagers” in real life, much less the thousands of commenters and lurckers that have passed by over the years.
And yet, upon reflection, I know more about some of you than I know about some of my family members. Together, we’ve shared children growing, graduating, and marrying. We’ve shared illness and loss. We’ve prayed for each other during times of trouble, shared our burdens in times of stress, lifted each other up with personal accounts of making it through times that seemed insurmountable, and comforted each other during those times when the outcome wasn’t what we wanted. We’ve celebrated births of children and grandchildren. We’ve grieved for each other when loved ones didn’t win their battles. We’ve rejoiced when one of our own, Malcolm, made it through chemotherapy with a joke a day. We’ve suffered together when one of our own, LizBV, lost her battle and passed on.
Those of you looking to find some of these friends should click over to Hamous.org – it looks like that is going to be the landing place.
One of my favorite memories is from the election of 2006, and Gov. Perry was having a tough time of it, in no small part because of people just like the ones that visited LST. I was not a “front pager” at the time and went to a Perry rally on the north side of Houston. It was there that I met “SouthernTragedy” as she stood alone on the sidewalk, bravely letting those in attendance know what she thought.
She lost that battle, as Gov. Perry went on to win the election (and, I certainly hope he wins again this year), but she has won many others and that one picture remains to me the embodiment of LST readers. Her actions and those of people like her were the pre-cursor to what we now call “tea parties”.
There are many, many other memories that I doubt will leave me soon. Lawrence C. taking me on regarding the Top Ten rule. Everyone criticizing me for my “screaming hyenas” characterization of those that wanted to prevent trucks coming in from Mexico. Fellow “front pager” RickG pounding me day after day over my support of Mike Huckabee. My own failure when I joined the Ron Paul criticism circus rather than thinking for myself. The faith based arguments I’ve had with Squawk, Hamous, Texpat, Shannon, Benzion, Matt, well, everyone.
And because of this shutdown, I will forever reign as Hanukah King.
And a special note of thanks to David Benzion. Not for his recognition of my superior skills and bringing me aboard, that should have been obvious to him long before he did. But for his efforts to mentor me, to make me a better writer than I was, to challenge me to look at an issue from more than my narrow universe, pushing me to be all that I could be, calling me incessantly as I ticked off public officials and explaining how to say what I wanted without ticking them off. Obviously, it didn’t take, but not because of a lack of effort on his part.
He also gave me an opportunity to meet a man I admire deeply and love with all my heart and soul, Mike Richards. You may not remember Mike, but he was a voice of reason on KSEV that lived his Christian faith in such a way that it caught my attention and led me back to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. His was not the cheap faith of political expediency that we see so much of today: Mike Richards is an example of living as Christ. That I was able to meet him and share my story with him, and that he would accept me as easily as if I were a part of his own family, is a treasure that David Benzion gave me that I can never, ever repay. For that I thank you, David.
David Jennings, aka Big Jolly