• Random thoughts for a random Tuesday

    Co-worker Chad came bursting into the office one Thursday a few weeks ago.

    "So what did you write about this week?" He asked, pulling a newspaper from the rack outside my door.

    "Oh, city council, the veterans' memorial, the . . ., " I started but he interrupted.

    "No. What's your column about?"

    When I told him I didn't write one, he was aghast and demanded to know why not.

    "I didn't have anything to say," I said returning to my work.

  • Who do you think is old?

    I was taking then-4-year-old Spencer to preschool and as was our custom, we had serious discussions during the 25-minute commute.

    That particular morning, out of the blue, he asked, "How old are you, Mommy?"

    I came to a red light, looked at him and asked back, "How old do you think I am, Spencer?"

    I could see the cogs and gears spinning as he thought about it.

    "You're very old," he finally answered. "You must be at least 21."

  • A mayorship done right

    I met Gerald Hethcoat when I first moved to Florida back in 2005. I worked for another newspaper back then, and every Friday, he'd swing by the office to buy a paper and catch up. I liked him immediately.

    Three years later I found myself in Williston and seeing him a lot more than once a week.

    When my freelance reporter retired, I had to start covering the council meetings and seeing The Mayor in action at least twice a month.

  • No apologies; I'm a sloth

    There was a time that as soon as the door closed behind me at home on Friday night, I'd call out, "Let's go out to eat."

    That's all changed.

    Now I'm pretty much a hermit once I leave the office.

    While the coffee is brewing, I am changing into PJs and settling in for a weekend of nothing-ness.

    There have been many, many weekends of late that once I sequester myself into Ten Broeck Manor, I don't step outside again until Monday morning.

  • Stop this cycle, I want to get off

    More than a dozen years ago, I performed in the community theatre's production of "Dearly Departed", a campy tale of a Southern dysfunctional family attending the wake and funeral of patriarch Bud Turpin.

    There are many classic lines from the show, but the one that has kept playing in my head for the last month is delinquent Royce saying to his financially ruined uncle, "You know, Junior, life's a circle."

  • What I learned caring for my father

    By Jessica Gilbert

    Guest Columnist

    I recently took my father into my home and cared for him while he was on hospice care. I was honored to do so.

  • Christmas then and now

    Christmas will be quiet at Ten Broeck Manor this year. Tom and I will celebrate at home, most likely with just our furry companions, a hot meal and perhaps an adult beverage.

    Next week, after the paper is finished I will head to Georgia to spend Christmas with my children and Tom will venture to his sisters' on the East Coast. Because of his most recent back surgery, he can't travel the almost-eight hours up north so he'll FaceTime with the granddaughters when they open presents.

  • I challenge you, Williston

    My first intention was to write an editorial – an opinion from the newspaper's standpoint. I then realized the topic is too personal and I couldn't do it justice in a newspaper editorial.

    That's when I decided to make it my opinion – just mine – that of Carolyn Ten Broeck.

    It's not one of my typical "Slice of Life" pieces about my rather atypical life.

    This is cut and dried and to the point. And it's personal. Deeply personal.

  • What's in a name?

    The editor of my first newspaper had been an assistant editor for over 34 years by the time I entered her newsroom.

    Over the course of the four years I worked under her as a reporter, I learned many, many things about life in a small town weekly newspaper. Perhaps the most singlehanded important tidbit has proven tried and true for almost 30 years: don’t get the name wrong.

    “People will forgive you for errors,” she told me, “but it’s hard for them to forgive you when you mess up their name.”

  • Much ado about sleep

    When I tell you I don’t sleep, I am not bragging. Nor am I complaining. I’m just stating a fact. And perhaps looking for some sympathy or justification on why I look so bad.

    I once was a sleeper.

    Decades ago, I could sleep until noon or later any given day of the week. Of course, that was when I really was a night owl and wasn’t getting into bed until the wee hours of the morning.

    That’s all changed now. I can go to sleep at 3 a.m. and in two to three hours, I am wide-eyed and ready to start my day.