Not many people get the careers they dreamed about as kids.
I sure didn't.
I wanted to play point guard for the Warriors and center field for the Giants.
But growing up in the Bay Area, reading the San Francisco Chronicle with its quirky sense of news and its legendary columnists, I imagined even then that working in papers might be pretty cool.
You know. Just in case the pro sports thing didn't pan out.
Now, as I wrap up a 35-year newspaper career nearly 30 of those years at The Bee I've got to say Plan B worked out pretty well.
Newspapers took me to Seattle, then to Alaska, back home to the Bay Area and finally to Sacramento, where I found a community I came to love.
Over the years here, I've connected with incredible people. Skillful and passionate colleagues, never-say-die entrepreneurs, savvy business leaders and wonderful readers who cared enough to call or write and comment on the news, quibble with my facts or suggest new stories to tackle.
Most satisfying of all have been these past 12 years when I've worked on this offbeat little column aimed at reporting business news in bite-sized pieces, with a folksy tone and a bit of humor.
I broke some big national stories for example, the tale of a petite woman kicked off a Southwest Airlines plane so an overweight passenger could have two seats, and the ham-handed visit to a local carwash by IRS agents intent on capturing a few pennies of supposedly unpaid taxes.
I delivered lots of scoops on new businesses headed our way: mermaid bars, sports equipment emporiums and national grocery chains, among many others.
I wrote about big building sales, emerging companies getting funding and chrome statues of animals turning up at retail centers throughout the region.
I told readers about a Kings player's entourage being booted from Arden Fair mall and Russ Solomon's comeback in the local music business.
I even tried my hand at fortunetelling, writing an annual column that attempted to forecast the major events in business for the coming year. The five-year report card for that: Hits and misses in about equal numbers.
All in all, it's been a great run. And over the past few weeks, as word of my retirement plans has circulated, I've heard from hundreds of people who feel the column kept them informed and amused.
I can't tell you how gratifying that is.
But I also have to say this: The column was successful only because so many people business leaders, real estate brokers, lawyers, public employees and lots of others called in regularly with the latest news or gossip from their workplaces, neighborhoods and shopping hangouts.
To all those tipsters and you know who you are just let me say: Thank you very, very much.
I can only hope that my successor, new business columnist Cathie Anderson, is the beneficiary of such generous support.
So what's next for me?
I'm planning to keep on writing but on my own schedule, without three deadlines a week. After all these years of boiling complicated stories down to easily digestible "tidbits," I'm looking forward to doing longer-form journalism again magazine stories and maybe a book.
Beyond that, I'm planning to have as much fun as is humanly possible. My wife, Cynthia, and I are off to the Caribbean in May for a second honeymoon, 30 years after the first. When we return, we'll start training for a 200-mile bike ride from Seattle to Portland.
I have plans to pursue long- deferred interests: home improvement, piano, cooking.
And, of course, I'm going to be playing lots of hoops with friends and maybe some senior softball, all the while imagining that I'm Al Attles delivering a perfect pass or Willie Mays making a basket catch.
Some childhood dreams just never die.