They say you can never go home again. Well, after 20 years in the Okanagan I’m about to find out if that’s true.
As you read this I will be packing up my desk for the final time. I’m heading back to the bustling streets and crowded skyline of Vancouver that I grew up in so many years ago.
But I won’t be leaving empty handed — I’ll be bringing the memories of some of the happiest times of my life. And I’ll be leaving behind one of the most talented newsrooms I’ve had the privilege of being a part of. So I’d like to thank Kristi Patton, Mark Brett, Steve Kidd, Emanuel Sequeira and Joe Fries (along with former co-workers Brian Jonson, Eric Welsh, Holly Hashimi, Tracy Clark Reis, Kathy Michaels, Wolf Depner, Simone Blais, Bruce Walkinshaw, Jeff Morrice, Joyce Langerak and Harpreet Sidhu) for making my job here so enjoyable.
And the list of those who have made the Western News a special place extends far beyond the walls of the newsroom. From Larry Mercier and his sales team to the production staff and front office, from the circulation department to those running the presses: it’s been a pleasure working alongside you.
Before coming to Penticton in 2006, I spent 13 years in the northern end of the valley, working as a reporter with the Vernon Morning Star. I still consider the staff there a second family.
And while I may normally leave the publisher off any list for fear of being labelled a brown-noser, seeing as he will only be my boss for a few more hours, Don Kendall won’t get off so lucky. Because Don Kendall is no ordinary publisher. It was Don who brought me to the Okanagan all those years ago. And it is Don who has taught me so much of what I know about the newspaper business today.
I will miss you all more than my nature would ever allow me to say aloud. And I will miss the sunny days and delicious bounty that have made the Okanagan famous. I will miss floating the day away in the warm waters of Okanagan Lake; I’ll miss the hikes with the dog along the KVR Trail and river channel; I’ll miss the leisurely strolls through the farmers’ market; and I’ll miss the stretches of open countryside where lush fields beckon beneath clear, blue skies. But more than that, I will miss the people who truly make Penticton special.
But none of those wonderful experiences can compare to seeing the smile of the little girl who stole my heart away 18 years ago.
You have filled me with pride since the day I first laid eyes on you, Veronika. My heart soared with each gymnastic routine I watched you perform, it ached with each tear that rolled down your cheek, and it yearned to spend just one more moment with you each time we had to say goodbye.
While the straight-A report cards and academic accolades may have become routine over time, my pride in you has only grown. But it is the kind, loving and generous spirit that seems to come so naturally to you that most fills me with amazement. And it is the wonderful person you’ve become that has me longing to bring an end to my time in paradise
So thank you for all the great times, Penticton. The memories of my time here are sure to last a lifetime. And if you could, Veronika, maybe you can hold off getting all grown up for just a little while longer. Daddy will be home soon.
Dan Ebenal will always be grateful to the people he worked with and the community he served as editor of the Penticton Western News.