Well, as they used to say on the Mickey Mouse Club … “now it’s time to say goodbye, to all our company.”  After nearly five years, your humble correspondent is stepping down as the Eccentric’s conservative columnist.  The little woman and I (and won’t THAT annoy the Eccentric’s lefty feminist readers one last time!) are moving out of the area in the near future, headed for a warm, salt water climate where I’ll never again have to shovel snow.

I’ll miss Virginia and its history and all the time and enjoyable effort I’ve put into working with so many wonderful, talented, preservation-oriented people at the Friends of Ball’s Bluff, NoVa Parks, Mosby Heritage Area Association, the Loudoun County Civil War Roundtable, Thomas Balch Library, the Loudoun Museum, and many others during the 23 years that we’ve been in Loudoun County.  But it is time to move on.

Red and Blue have covered a lot of ground since I became Red in November of 2012.  Hit all the hot topics like abortion, gun control, gay rights, women in combat, and Obamacare in addition to the dramatic insanity of the 2016 presidential election campaign.  No doubt those exchanges will continue between Blue and the new Red.

I want to thank the folks at the Eccentric, especially my good friend and constant foil, Dan Morrow (aka Blue), for inviting me to write the Red column in the first place.  Dan and I met when I joined the MHAA board on which he then was serving.  Neither of us agrees with a thing the other says.  Each of us thinks the other’s politics are absolutely nutty.  We exchange emails, sometimes very heated ones, every day and anyone seeing only those would think that Dan and I must hate each other’s guts. 

But we don’t.  We actually like and respect each other as men of (perhaps misguided) principle.  I’m going to miss our exchanges as we’ve gone back and forth, bludgeoning each other about the Eccentric’s monthly Red-Blue topic and the daily happenings in today’s too-politicized America.  Dan and I play hardball, and I imagine that we’ll still do some of that as they do have email where I’m going.

My thanks also to Dee Dee Hubbard and her son, Jay Hubbard, for their efforts at keeping the Eccentric going under often very trying circumstances and for allowing me to write the column.  Finally, I’m grateful to the late Glenda Cudaback for her editorial skills. She will be (no, she already is) missed. 

These five years really have been both enlightening and entertaining, and that’s aside from the sheer fun of the thing.  As one who does a lot of public speaking to battlefield tour groups and other, usually historically-oriented, audiences, I’ve enjoyed being able to do this sort of public writing on political topics.  It is satisfying to be able to express one’s views and know that they will be published on a regular basis.  Writing an opinion column is rather different from writing an occasional letter to the editor. 

Now I don’t want any of you to tell Blue this as it would just swell his head even more than it already is but his views have, in fact, had an effect on mine and sometimes even have caused me to take a second look at what I believe – or, at least, at why I believe it.   Being a liberal, he’s almost always wrong, of course (rearrange the letters in “liberal” and they spell “wrong”), but it still has been nice to bounce things back and forth with him and find myself tested.  Thanks, Dan, you old commie.

And thanks to you, gentle readers, for your expressions of support and even for your occasional insults.  Either way, it means you’ve been reading my columns and, for that, I’m grateful. 

Best to all of you, good luck to the Middleburg Eccentric, and God Bless America!