Joe Moylan: So long, Moffat County

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Joe Moylan

— I’ve never enjoyed goodbyes.

I find them sad, uncomfortable and awkward to the point of being almost itchy. I’m a weird guy when it comes to saying goodbye because I do everything I can to avoid them.

Over the years I’ve been known to sneak out of a party without saying a word, or return home in the middle of the night after spending the weekend with friends. Luckily, those who know me best understand why I avoid formal farewells and have yet to hold my shifty departures against me — short of nicknaming me “Night Moves.”

Although it goes against all of my natural instincts, I would be remiss if I didn’t take the time to say goodbye to the community that for almost two years embraced me as one of its own.

And it is with a strange blend of sadness and anticipation that I write this column knowing it will be my last article in the Craig Daily Press. On Tuesday, I will begin a new reporting job at the Summit Daily News in Frisco covering the towns of Silverthorne and Dillon.

As much as I hate to use a cliché, the reality of moving on is bittersweet. I never would have imagined two years ago that I’d be sitting here now reminiscing about a catalogue of fond memories, incredible experiences, a solid body of work and an entire community of lifelong friends.

Despite all of the positives, I think many will remember that my stint in Craig and Moffat County got off to a rocky start, at best.

When I arrived at the Craig Daily Press in July 2011, I had taken a three-year break from journalism. I was painfully shy, incredibly nervous and unsure whether I was going to be able to hack it. Most of all, I knew I was going to be rusty. I just wasn’t prepared for the amount of buffing I would require.

Horse racing fans know what it means to “stumble out of the gate,” but the word “stumble” implies a certain sense of grace, and that the horse remained upright. I’ve never been much of a stumbler, but I’m really good at falling.

During the first two or three months working the government beat I made plenty of mistakes and took more than my fair share of headers. Many of you took notice and during that time called me unprofessional, an oil monger and one of the top two or three most inaccurate reporters in the history of the Craig Daily Press.

I wasn’t even offended by that last comment at the time. I remember feeling an overwhelming sense of relief that I didn’t climb into the top spot.

Although some of you called me out for those early mistakes, and rightly so, I think the majority of you recognized I was serious about the job and in doing right by the community through fair and balanced reporting. As a result, you extended me an extraordinary amount of patience as I slowly began to right the ship.

But the good working relationships we built together inevitably evolved into friendships.

Growing up in Chicago, I had always heard stories about the special, almost brotherly bond that exists among small-town residents, and I reaped the benefits of that culture right from the start.

From Day One you welcomed me into your homes, shared your stories, introduced me to your way of life, kept me mobile — and on at least one occasion out of jail — and came to my aid any time I needed a favor.

And that’s what makes saying goodbye so difficult. I’m not simply changing jobs, I’m leaving behind a community I’ve become somewhat attached to.

So, in consideration of my awkward inability to say goodbye, let’s just say “see you later,” because I plan to return to Craig, and return often.

And when I do, I look forward to finally sitting down to that long overdue beer, shooting that long talked about round of golf or simply taking a moment to catch up — without my notepad and pen and completely off the record.

Until then, take care and in the words of the great Sam Elliott, I’ll “catch ya later on down the trail.”

Joe Moylan can be reached at 970-875-1794 or jmoylan@CraigDailyPress.com

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