Down the Road

Photo by Sam Filip for Al Thumz Photography

I turn 70 in September. That is the plan, though I am aware that man plans and God laughs. That aside, there is no question that I have fewer miles in front of me than I do in the rearview and less time to traverse them. I am at the same time mindful that I still have a number of things to check off the “to-do list” and want to make time to do that. I accordingly have decided that this will be my last regular post at this wonderful place.

I assure you that the decision to stop contributing has not come easily. This moment nonetheless seems like a good time to make some changes. The thought of meeting deadlines and obligations  — even for things that I enjoy, like this blog — isn’t a good fit for me at this stage. It additionally feels as if it is time for my next act, and I want to end the current one on a high note (or at least a medium one).  I am also retiring from most of my professional activities, other than for writing.   I will continue to keep busy, but busy doing other things. Everything is on the table. You may even hear of some of them in other contexts and places. 

I’ve gotten to hang with the cool kids here at TKZ for over a decade. They are each and all wonderful, terrific, and enormously talented people who give, give, and give. It’s been a privilege to know them and be here with them. I’ve certainly become smarter by reading their contributions every morning while at the same time attempting mightily every other weekend to not embarrass myself in their or your presence. I won’t miss them because I will continue to read their contributions every day, as I do now. I’ll be commenting frequently too. I won’t be completely gone until I’m, uh, completely gone, which hopefully won’t be for another fifty years or so.

And you out there…I hope I have imparted something useful to you over the course of the past ten years or so.  I’ve made a number of dear and wonderful friends here. Some of them are no longer on this side of the veil. Many of them are still here and I want/hope to stay in touch with them. You will continue to see Dr. Steve Hooley —  speaking of friends, I could not ask for a better one — on alternate Saturdays. As for what I have come to regard as “my” Saturdays, the baton is being passed to  Reavis Z. Wortham who, commencing on Saturday, July 10, 2021, will be filling this spot on alternate Saturdays.  Rev is amazing. He writes a historical mystery series set in Northeast Texas during the 1960s and counts C.J. Box and Joe R. Lansdale among his many fans. It doesn’t get any better than that. Rev is an author’s author who, I assure you, will have you forgetting all about me within a month. 

That’s me for today. Let me leave you with a music video that seems appropriate. Be well. Keep reading, writing, and doing what you love. And thank you so much for everything. You’re the best.

Photo by Sam Filip for Al Thumz Photography


77 thoughts on “Down the Road

  1. Joe,
    I will miss your posts on writing and muses on life and living it to the fullest. Good luck with your future projects. Come back and comment often.

  2. Joe, hail and farewell (at least until the next time you comment, which I hope will be often). Thanks for all the smiles over the past decade. We needed them. And I’m sure you’ll be smiling, too, as you travel the road ahead. Cheers.

    • Jim, thank you. I want to be you when I grow up. I may be commenting as early as tomorrow!

  3. Wishing you all the best, Joe. You’ve been a marvelous source of help and encouragement for me, both as a reader of this blog for years, and more recently, as a contributor.

    • Thank you, Terry. You give me too much credit. I think I’ve learned more from you than you have from me. Be well!

  4. Wow, Joe, thanks for so many things. I don’t know where to start – your words of wisdom and humor in your many posts over the past decade (Cindy told me to tell you that she’s going to miss your humor. You made her laugh, and she needs that with an old fart, like me, for her husband) – your advice on contracts – giving me the chance to be part of the TKZ contributor group – explaining the ins and outs of the mechanics of posting – your wonderful comments on everyone’s posts here at TKZ – and especially your friendship. I count myself fortunate.

    We’re going to miss you. I’m glad to hear that you will be commenting frequently. And I hope that after you check off each new adventure or experience, you’ll stop back here and enlighten the rest of us. My Saturday spot is always available to you for an honorary TKZ member guest post.

    The old nuns at your school may have been eager disciplinarians, but they turned out a wonderful soul – gold refined by fire.

    So, as you start another chapter and travel down that road, enjoy the journey. And don’t trip over that cord.

    • Steve, thank you so much. You’re very kind. You would have found your way without me, I’m sure.

      I will still be around. And please tell Cindy that I am always available to both of you if you need a daily chuckle.

      Gold refined by fire…I love that. I’m not sure if it applies, but thank you so much. And I may take you up on that guest post offer.

  5. Sir – as was said to a certain barefoot ballplayer early in the last century – “Say it ain’t so, Joe…”

    All selfishness aside, allow me to join in the chorus of thanks and good wishes – you have made the start of my “every-other-Saturday” mornings a bit more thoughtful, a bit more encouraged, and a lot more lightened/enlightened… I am most appreciative of your humor (and your humoring me), and the kindness and thoughtfulness to all who comment on your postings…

    Be safe, stay well, keep scribbling, and enjoy the granddaughter we’ve heard so much about…

    • George, thanks so much. You’re really kind. Be well.

      My granddaughter is here this weekend, actually, and sleeping the sleep of the innocent and clear of conscience…

  6. I am the oldest of Joe’s four children. I’ve been lurking here for years and have enjoyed reading every other Saturday. It’s been fun to see what my dad’s going to write about twice a month, especially when many of the stories he’s shared here were new to me.

    I’ve also enjoyed the contributions from the regulars down here in the comments. You are all very interesting people and I know my dad appreciates your support over the years. I certainly appreciate you all as well.

    I will now return to the shadows of the internet. Congratulations on a fine run, Father!

    • Thank you, Joe. You have no idea what this means to me. Knowing you would be reading made me a better writer.

      I am sure everyone understands when I say that Joe’s comment means the most to me today. Joe is the father of my granddaughter. He is a much better father to her than I am to him. He is also a much better writer and will undoubtedly have his novel published before mine. At that point I will spend half my time explaining who I’m not and the other explaining who I am.

      Thanks again, Joe. I love you.

      • I should also note that while Joe may have read some stories here that were new to him, he’s heard many more from me that will never otherwise see the light of day!

  7. Joe,
    I hope you have a lot of fun and adventure, and am glad we’ll be hearing from you still. Your comments are always thoughtful and kind. The good news is that being interested and active keeps one feeling eager to begin each day and each new endeavor. Blessings on your journey.

  8. Godspeed, Joe. I’ve learned much from you in the eight years I’ve been a TKZ fanboy. I’ve appreciated your insights and the humility with which you’ve presented them more than you know. Wishing you the best in life and with your continued writing. Take good care of you, Lou.

    • Louis, thank you. I’m humbled to know that you’ve been here for so long. Best wishes to you and yours.

  9. I will so greatly miss your stories, wisdom and instruction on those alternating Saturdays. They have been a highlight of my week for a long time. But I understand that we have to make changes sometimes.

    I wish you all the best in this new phase of life and look forward to seeing you in the comments of future posts.

    All the best…

    • BK, thanks so much. I will keep commenting so please look for me here and there. Be well!

    • Sue! I am always available for you and I know the same is true from me to you. And I will keep commenting!

      Pink Floyd! If the members got along as well as we all do at TKZ they’d still be recording! Thanks so much! I am still here!

  10. I’m afraid I have to add your “retirement” from writing for TKZ to the list of crappy things that keep happening to me. Not that it’s all about me but… you know.
    In any case, I’m sure that what we lose in terms of being able to enjoy your unique, homespun perspective on life, those closest to you will gain by an added dose of Joe and that’s the way it should be. Take care and may the wind be always at your back.

    • Ed, I’m sorry that you’re hitting bumps at this stage of your life. I hope they are temporary or a reasonable facsimile thereof. Thanks for the great wishes, though those around me in few months may well be saying, “Don’t you have a blogpost to write or something?” Be well, Ed.

  11. I always looked forward to your posts. They had the feeling of life-wisdom about them—the kind that comes from a good person who has made mistakes and learned from them—the kind that come from a good person with a generous sharing heart seeking to enrich others.

    Know that your posts have enriched my life. Your words of wisdom every other Saturday will be missed. Blessings on you and the adventures ahead of you.

    • Thank you, Douglas. You are way too kind. I’ve made mistakes for sure The good person thing continues to be a work in progress. Blessings to you as well.

  12. *Lump in throat…*

    Hope and wish the best for you in this season, Mr. Joe. I’ve enjoyed the contact with you, your posts, your comments, and I’d just like to say, you’ve taught me well a thing or two about the pursuit of writing.

    And, BTW, no one could make us “forget all about you”. You’re you, one of a kind, unique on this planet, and your shoes are just your size…no one else’s.

    Be well, be safe, and be just a little bit of a troublemaker…life’s too short to be good all the time! 🙂 🙂

    • Deb, you are not the only one with the “lump in throat.” I will miss posting and all of the conversations it generated, yours front and center among them. Thank you.

      Be well, and rest assured that if you need a troublemaker I know an expert!

  13. Joe,

    Here’s to all the wonderful posts you’ve written over the years, which have imparted wisdom, insight, and given us more than a few laughs, which we’ve all needed, especially in this past pandemic year. Know that your writing has made a difference. You’ll certainly never be forgotten.

    Here’s to new beginnings, as you begin the next chapter of the (hopefully very long) story of your life. Enjoy your new adventures for all they’re worth. Now is all we ever have, and I know you’ll make the most of all your nows.

    I look forward to seeing you here in the comments section 🙂

  14. The 70 year post is just over a year away for me, but I’ve already left so many things behind, and I’m perfectly happy about that. Safe roads and great destinations in your future!

    • Thanks so much, Marilynn. I’ve enjoyed your comments over these past years. Be well.

  15. Joe, I will so miss you and your posts! Here’s what popped in my mind as I read your farewell:
    May the road rise to meet you,
    May the wind be always at your back.
    May the sun shine warm upon your face,
    The rains fall soft upon your fields.
    And until we meet again,
    May God hold you in the palm of his hand.

    Enjoy what’s down the road!

    • That’s one of my favorite greetings, Patricia. Thank you so much. Be well.

  16. Joe –
    I’m happy for you because I know your creative, expansive self will relish the time now available for other pursuits.
    In our years on TKZ you have demonstrated and educated on the power of story. Your posts have touched hearts as well as taught.
    You are a caring, humble, and good man and I thank you for all that you have shared. I feel fortunate and very glad to call you friend.
    Well done, sir!

    • Tom, thank you so much. Our friendship, which I value greatly and deeply, will endure. It is I who am the fortunate one. Please keep moving in the right direction.

  17. Dear, dear Joe,

    You have always been quick to laugh at yourself but never at the other guy.

    I remember chuckling at the video when you chased your neighbor’s dog around the house.

    I remember your story about visiting Fats Domino’s house and listening to him play his piano.

    I remember your stories about losing old friends that made me tear up.

    I remember your loving guidance to your granddaughter to prepare her for the world that’s growing ever harsher.

    Most of all, I remember your graciousness years ago to a disheartened writer who didn’t know where to turn next after hitting dozens of brick walls. Your encouraging words on my anonymous first page critique gave me much-needed confidence to keep writing.

    Thank you, my good friend.

    • Debbie, you are so kind. I’m glad that you enjoyed my stories. I enjoyed telling them but they’re no good with an appreciative audience. Thank you.

      You give me far too much credit with regard to your writing career. You did all of the heavy lifting. I may have pointed out a way to carry the load but that’s the extent of my contribution. Be well. And I’ll still be around if you think I can help in some way.

  18. Lordy, I hate goodbyes. I even hate seeya laters, but those are purely selfish feelings. Intellectually, I admire decisions made and actions taken, and I am confident that the future is long and bright and wonderful for you. I wish you nothing but the best.

    But that doesn’t mean I won’t miss your biweekly wisdom. I do hope you continue to grace the halls here, even though your name won’t be on the reserved parking space anymore. The public lot is huge.

    Take care, my friend.

    • John, thanks so much for your kind words. You are an inspiration to us all here, past, present, and going forward.

      This isn’t a goodbye, John, especially where you are concerned. Once your dream home gets built I will become your imaginary best friend, kind of like J.B. Smoove is to Larry David on Curb Your Enthusiasm!

    • Thank you, Warren. I appreciate your kind words, but the credit goes to you, being the heavy lifter. Be well.

  19. Thank you, Jeffrey. I appreciate it. Entertaining was what I was trying to do. All else is incidental and accidental. Be well.

  20. Joe, I’m going to miss your missives—your honesty, your humor, your personality. Although we’ve never met, your posts here over the years have made me wish I had. Alas, my imaginary buddy, I wish you well.

    • Dean, thank you so much. You’re easy to please. By all means, if you ever come through the Columbus, Ohio area please let me know and we’ll have coffee or something if you are not worried about having your reputation forever ruined. Be well!

  21. Joe, I’ll miss the wisdom and experience you shared with TKZ readers over the years. Thank you for that generosity of spirit.

    And congratulations on your upcoming milestone birthday. May you be well and happy, may you be open to adventure and possibilities, and may you prosper in heart and soul. Fair winds and blue skies to you!

    • Suzanne, thank you so much. I will still be around and commenting so I will undoubtedly wear out my welcome before I’m missed. You’re very kind. Be well.

  22. Awww… we’ll miss your great Saturday posts, but wish you well with all your upcoming projects! Enjoy the freedom from regular commitments! By the way, I’m a year ahead of you and feeling very productive and content these days! 🙂

    • Thank you, Jodie! You were/are my inspiration. I’m glad you still appear and post and I’ll certainly follow your lead. Be well!

  23. Best to you going forward and mahalo for the best from you looking back! Enjoy life… get exactly one, although when you give it full consideration and have been lucky through the years, it feels like a blessed multitude.

    • You’re welcome, Elaine, and mahalo to you for your kind words and wishes, as well as for the reminder — we shouldn’t need it, but we do — that we have one life here. Be well.

  24. Bummer. I always looked forward to your columns. Good luck with your next chapter.

    • Thank you, catfriend. That’s kind of you to say. I always appreciated your comments and will look for you as I continue to visit TKZ. Be well!

  25. And you out there…I hope I have imparted something useful to you over the course of the past ten years or so.

    You certainly have, Joe. You were my debut first-page critique host, and that started off a long process of learning here at TKZ. Thanks for that.

    And as my Spanish-speaking friends say: ¡Adelante!

    • Thank you, Harald. I look forward to learning more here as well. Stay safe!

  26. Joe, I always log in late Saturday evening looking forward every other week to your post. This is one I didn’t want to read!

    I will miss your wisdom and good humor. You always gave me a chuckle and something to think about. (Actually, I think about you every time I go to the Dollar Store!)

    Best wishes. Enjoy the next leg of your journey.

    • Thank you, Kay. Thinking of me when you go into the Dollar Store is quite a compliment.

      I’ll try to provide some more laughs in my comments going forward, though I usually keep those serious. Best wishes to you as well as we proceed on the journey.

  27. So sorry to lose you from this venue. Best wishes for all your next steps, and best of health to enjoy them in!

    • Thank you so much, Karma. You won’t be losing me, as I will still be visiting and commenting. Sometimes my comments are longer than my posts have been. See you soon. Be safe.

  28. Oh Joe, you will be missed! I so enjoyed your posts. All the best and thank you for all your wonderful advice.

    • You’re welcome, Linda, and thank you for your kind words and good wishes. You won’t have time to miss me, as I will still be commenting extensively. Be well!

  29. Thanks, Garry! I will look forward to it.

    Love the JF video. Another instant classic.

    Be well!

  30. I’m happy for you and your future endeavors but sad because I will miss your regular column every other Sat. I appreciate your advice and help. I do hope you will comment often. Thank you for your invaluable advice and wisdom. You will be missed. Happy trails!

  31. You’re welcome, Rebecca, and thank you for your kind words and regular visits to these pages. I’ve received far more than I’ve given. You’ll see me regularly in the comments pages, so I won’t be missed, I’m sure. Be well!

  32. Ah, as usual, I am woefully late to the party.
    Everyone has said all of the things, and far more eloquently than I.
    I’ll just say, best wishes on this new adventure, Joe! Your posts will be dearly missed, but we look forward to your comments!
    (Sometimes it’s way more fun out here n the cheap seats! Har har!)

  33. Cyn, you are not late, because the party never stops here at TKZ. Also…there are no cheap seats here. Every visitor to TKZ gets a VIP suite!

    Thanks so much for your kind words and wishes, which are as eloquent as everyone’s for sure. And as might be obvious, I’m still around. Maybe too much!

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