Scott Stanford: Back in the saddle

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Curse shmurse.

Last fall, I headed to Texas. I thought I was going home -- back to the place where people dress like I dress and talk like I talk, y'all.

I got a job at a newspaper. I bought a nice house on 3 acres in the country and a John Deere riding mower, a lifelong fantasy. I barbecued daily on my gas grill and spent my Friday nights under the lights, watching the Cuero Gobblers play football. My daughters became cheerleaders.

We were Texans again.

But Steamboat stayed in my head. The 'Boat was calling me, literally, from the radio.

The radio in my pickup stayed tuned to 104.7 -- Lone Star FM, which plays nothing but music from the Texas charts. And in between Waylon, Willie and Pat Green, there was this persistent ad promoting the Texas Music Festival, a week filled with Texas music concerts and skiing in "beautiful Steamboat Springs."

Hard to hear that without conjuring up an image. The thing was, I didn't picture the mountain or snow or expensive real estate. Rather, I pictured people. Friends. Co-workers. Children. Acquaintances. Customers. Ski bums.

A lot of good things can be said about South Texas. Great winters. Good roads. Nice people. Lots of space to move around in.

But I came to realize that home is where the people are. For my wife, for our daughters and for me, the people are in Steamboat.

A few weeks ago, I got the offer to return. There wasn't any hesitation. I recognized right away that this was it -- such an opportunity was unlikely to come around again. I decided to come back to Steamboat, to the newspaper and to the people I missed so much for the three-plus months I was away.

I decided to come home.

I promise that's the last time I'll write about myself in this space. The real reason for this column is to try to engage the newspaper's readers a little better than I did during my first stint in this chair. I want to hear your criticisms, your feedback and your questions. I promise to address them as openly and as honestly as I can every Thursday in this space.

Ask me why we do the things we do. I'll defend us if I think it's justified, and I'll fess up when we're wrong. So fire away.

Side note:

I'd be remiss if I didn't recognize John Russell's work at the Winter Olympics in Italy. The Steamboat Pilot & Today is among the smallest newspapers in the country with media credentials for the Winter Olympics, and the investment the newspaper made in sending John to Italy says a lot about the Pilot & Today.

John's trip got off to a rocky start -- the hard drive on his laptop died, Olympic officials have restricted when and where he can shoot photos, and his hotel isn't exactly wired for technology. But thanks to some help from The Associated Press and a couple of Steamboat locals in Italy, John is back on track and is filing multiple stories and photos every day.

I hope you're enjoying his work as much as I am.

From the Editor appears Thursdays in the Steamboat Today. Send questions to Scott Stanford at sstanford@steamboat pilot.com or call him at 871-4221.

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