It’s quarter to three
“No one in the place, except you and me.”
Some of you will recognize those words as the opening lines of a classic Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer song, “One for My Baby,” a scrumptious melancholy tune recorded by artists from Ella Fitzgerald and Tony Bennett to Willie Nelson and Iggy Pop.
But c’mon, let’s be real. It’s a Frank Sinatra song. Nobody owned it like Ol’ Blue Eyes. Who else do you picture singing this one while closing out a smoky little bar in the wee small hours of the morning (sorry, mixed lyric there)?
It’s the next two lines, however, that speak to this particular moment:
“We’re drinking my friend to the end of a brief episode; so make it one for my baby and one more for the road.”
If you’re game, pour a glass of your favorite poison and raise it with me as together we toast the end of my own brief episode: This is my final column as news editor of the Marion County Record.
Circumstances were right four years ago when I came back to the Ol’ Thing, and truth be told, this is the second longest stay in any job I’ve had. Going back to an internship at the Record my senior year of high school, I’ve collected more paychecks in several stints here than anyplace else.
I’m grateful that the Meyers, first Bill, then Joan and Eric, have chosen to invest in me, and hopefully I’ve given our readers a decent return on that investment. Measured by Kansas Press Association awards, we’ve done pretty well, individually and collectively.
Of course, if Eric and our staff had been given the task of picking a Sinatra lyric for me, “I did it my way” might have been at the top of the list, for I rarely had a deadline I didn’t push to the limit and beyond. For Tuesday composition nights, that too often stretched into the wee small hours of Wednesday mornings, and the hours of sleep my colleagues lost because of it, their frustrated tolerance has been appreciated.
It’s been a good run. Momentarily sticking with the “My Way” theme, albeit a bit mixed up, “Regrets, I’ve had a few, but then again, too few to mention. I did what I had to do. And now, the end is near.” So near that it’s here.
Like the newspaper, Marion’s been good to me, too. It was a great place to grow up, and a community that’s always rolled out the welcome mat when I’ve returned. It is, and will always be, my hometown.
It’s just not going to be my home anymore. With family and friends spread across the country and the globe, my love of experiencing different cultures, never-ending curiosity, an insatiable craving for Thai cuisine and sushi, and a biological clock that at 60 is ticking down ever faster, it’s time to head off on a journey of new discoveries, much as I’ve done throughout my adult life.
With that, we return to “One for My Baby,” again doing a little picking, choosing, and rearranging.
“Well, that’s how it goes, and Joe, I know you’re getting anxious to close. So thanks for the cheer, I hope you didn’t mind me bending your ear. So make it one for my baby, and one more for the road. The long, long road.”
Finally, does anyone happen to recall the musical Arlen and Mercer wrote this song for?
“The Sky’s the Limit.”
And so it is.
— david colburn
Last modified May 31, 2018