"And instead of saying all of your goodbyes

Let them know that you realize that life goes fast

It's hard to make a good thing last

You realize the sun don't go down

It's just an illusion caused by the world spinning round"

"Do You Realize?"

~ The Flaming Lips ~

Oh how I feared this day would come - and I'm still not prepared for it.

Back in 2001, prior to me becoming the new kid in town, I had to undergo what most people fear is the dreaded interview process.

Then-Phoenix editor Stan Huskey told me that I would be meeting with his managing editor, Megan Phillips. I'd spoken to Megan on the phone several times before meeting her, and her voice was very professional with a hint of youth to it.

I cruised down Bridge Street and managed to find a parking space in front of Heidi Sue Variety store. I walked across the street and knocked on the front door. Making her way towards the door was Megan, and she greeted me with a smile, and walked me to the conference room. From there on then, after completing some paperwork and taking some tests, I was eventually hired here at The Phoenix. See, now you can also add Megan's name to the list of people to blame for me arriving to this town.

Granted, our working relationship in the beginning was as smooth as jagged glass. In all honesty, our personalities clashed quite a bit. However, as time went by, and others in the newsroom have come and gone over the years, we've managed to overcome our personality quirks and now work together quite nicely. It's like we are the lone holdovers from a previous era here. In fact, we've often joked about if one of us should ever leave, the other would go with them. I'd never thought that way years ago, but time certainly does change things.

What a lot of The Phoenix readers don't realize is all of the hard work Megan does behind the scenes here. She reads all of the stories the reporters submit every day, and coordinates them along with the photographs and other stories received from other papers, and lays out The Phoenix Sunday through Thursdays. Megan manages to get this done with a high level of consistency and professionalism. She deserves a lot more credit for all of the work she does around here. Megan is definitely the cog of our newsroom wheel.

Well, our wheel won't be spinning quite right because it's now Megan's turn to leave our illustrious newsroom. She's accepted an editorial position with The Times Herald of Norristown, and her last day is this coming Sunday.

I'll never forget all of the good times, the laughs, the secrets, the gossip that Megan and I have shared together. There was the night before this past Thanksgiving when she followed me to my neck of the woods on her way to Lancaster. I kept calling her to point out different landmarks along the way. It's going to feel quite strange looking over to my right and not seeing her on the other side of her computer. I'm definitely going to miss that smile, the one that greeted me so long ago.

Take care and have fun in Norristown, Megan, and I leave you with this - amicitiae nostrae memoriam spero sempiternam fore - meaning "I hope that the memory of our friendship will be everlasting."

****

So now we move from saying 'good-bye' to saying 'hey there!' I'd like to take this opportunity to welcome the latest addition to The Phoenix, our new publisher Jim Kelly. He comes our way from The Times Herald of Norristown, where he was their advertising director. He's already made a great impression with his humor and congeniality. The man has a plan and from the sound of things, there'll be some changes abound, for the good, here at The Phoenix.

****

This week's lyrics go out to Tri-County Record copy editor, Abny Santicola. She was recently listening to The Flaming Lips "Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots" CD, to which the song can be found. The song has also been featured in commercials for VH1. Trust me, you'll know the song once you've heard it - and it'll stick in your head for a few minutes afterwards. But that's not a bad thing, because it is a good song.

****

Until then, some final words of wisdom to "write-off" to - tomorrow is St. Valentine's Day. For those who have found love, hold onto it, cherish it and enjoy the day. For those who seek love, may you find that special someone someday and until then, treat yourself and enjoy the day. So, I would like to say to all of my female saints and sinners, Happy Valentine's Day. I leave you with this - amantes sunt amentes - meaning "lovers are lunatics."

****

Dennis J. Wright can be reached at dwright@phoenixvillenews.com.

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