I write this column with both sadness and relief. I am sad that The Chronicle is going out of business, of course, after more than 123 years. But I am also relieved that I am no longer responsible for keeping it going.

As Billy writes, the lack of advertising support has made it increasingly difficult to keep it going. Ginnie and I have had to deplete our savings to keep it going many months. We have had a few faithful advertisers, and we are grateful for their support, but the lack of support from a supermarket, a major bank and a car dealership are major barriers to success. We had hoped that the energy from the youth of Billy and Paula would provide what is needed to overcome these matters, but that has not been the case. At our age, Ginnie and I aren’t willing to get back into the arena. I won’t be writing in this publication any more, and I worry about how Atkins residents will be informed about the important matters of the community, but it won’t be by me.

I will continue to pursue one of my passions – history. I will continue to be active in the Pope County Historical Association, and will exercise my interest in history by researching and writing articles for that organization. I will also remain active in the Atkins Lions Club and will work to keep supporting the goals of that organization, including providing help for those with sight and hearing needs. One research project I plan to pursue is to determine how many towns of 3,000 and less, and are not a county seat, have newspapers.

I do have two interests I will continue to pursue besides history, and those are gardening and music. My garden, with a lot of help from my cousin Tamar, is looking good, with tomatoes, green peppers, cucumbers, okra, and a few potato plants that are from new potato peals and sweet potato slips. I also have an amazing bunch of volunteer wild blackberry vines. I had good blooms on my peach trees, but they got zapped by late freezes.

My music, on the trombone and harmonica, is with Jazz Reunion and the ACME Community Band. The Community Band will be playing patriotic music at Old Post Road Park before the fireworks on July 4th. I may also do some fiddling and harmonica playing with some friends.