Commentary: Those were the days, my friend

By John Krull
TheStatehouseFile.com 

INDIANAPOLIS – The years melt away.

The three of us – two old buddies from my newspaper days and me — sit in my kitchen and sip Scotch and bourbon as the night chills and deepens. Earlier, we grilled some steaks and brussels sprouts and caught up with each others’ lives.

John Krull, publisher, TheStatehouseFile.com

Once we spent a lot of time together. We weren’t young then, but we weren’t old, either. We were in our 30s, that scrambling decade when people build their careers.

And their lives.

We worked long hours for a dying afternoon newspaper, The Indianapolis News, and loved it. Will and I were reporters and writers for the paper. Rich was a photographer. The job was all about deadlines, about turning out in tight frames words and pictures that made stories come to life.

We managed the stress by working out. We’d run over our lunch hours and shower in a newspaper washroom that somehow had escaped the Environmental Protection Agency’s attention before returning to our labors. We’d do even longer runs on the weekends, pounding our way over dirt trails in the early morning hours, then scarfing down cheap breakfasts and coffee while we traded stories and jokes.

Those were good days, and they passed as good days always do.

Too fast.

We had no idea then, more than 20 years ago, the huge changes that awaited the news business. We just knew that we were three guys who were living their lives and doing work that mattered. We were guys who got to tell the tale.

But then years passed.

Life happened.

Marriages came along and, in some cases, ended. Fathers all, we saw children grow to maturity.

And we all left the newspaper business.

I was the first, leaving a little more than 20 years ago. Rich followed a decade later. Will hung it up earlier this year.

Now we’re three old guys on either side of 60, sitting in a kitchen, reconnecting. We haven’t gotten to see each other much these past years, so there’s a lot of ground to cover.

But it comes easy.

We sit, we sip our drinks and we share our stories, savoring each. We talk about joys. We talk about disappointments. We talk about friends going through hard times. We talk about friends going through good times. We talk about friends who have died.

And we shake our heads in mourning.

Two of us can’t really run anymore. The one who can run does it a lot slower than he used to. We’ve all been subject to the aches and ailments that accompany the passage of time.

We marvel at how quickly we moved from being young Turks to becoming elder statesmen.

But then we smile at old memories. We trade old jokes. We tease each other in familiar ways. We talk with fondness about landmarks from our past that have disappeared. We reminisce about the deep, even sweeping, alterations in the landscapes of our lives.

We laugh, far into the night.

Then it’s time to say farewells.

After warm hand clasps and a few last affectionate jibes and cracks, my buddies step out into the dark and cold and go home. We all head back to our lives.

I find myself lingering at the front door after they’ve left, thinking about the days when the three of us ran together. What a gift those times were.

There is so much about this world that shifts and moves. So much that is dear to us disappears or just goes away. So often, the ground beneath our feet quakes and pitches.

So many things change.

Thank God some things don’t.

John Krull is director of Franklin College’s Pulliam School of Journalism and publisher of TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

 

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