You would think this would be easy. It’s not. Retirement is supposed be something like rolling off a log.
Friday will be my last day of full-time employment with The Advocate. Farewells will come with next Sunday’s column.
Advocate Outdoors is not going away. Naturally, there will be changes. You’ll be able to read other writers, younger men and women who have, and live, the same passions as you do. I’m not stepping out, just stepping away from the day-to-day pressures and pleasures after 25 years of outdoors assignments.
After working for the State-Times and The Advocate for more than 45 years, the past 42 as a full-time sports and outdoors writer, it’s time to devote more time to family, and enjoy a closer relationship with friends.
There are far too many great memories to share here, and there will not be enough room next week for the thank yous to the many who’ve welcomed each week’s two outdoor pages into their home.
Because you read them first, you’re forgiven if these pages have been used on the bottom of the bird cage, training a puppy, or wrapping crawfish heads.
For an old friend
If you haven’t heard, Hokie Gajan has cancer, and like all forced to this tragic journey, he and his family need help paying bills.
Hokie’s career has threads throughout my days with Baton Rouge newspapers, at Baker High School when he was a top-drawer running back for the Buffaloes, and we all know what followed at LSU and his playing and scouting days with the Saints. He made the “color” part of “color analyst” worth tuning in for Saints radio broadcasts. There was never a game when a TV team called a Saints game better than Hokie and his broadcast partner Jim Henderson.
Even better is that I’ve had the distinct pleasure of days with Hokie in a duck blind and on fishing trips.
What a man, and it’s a tribute to him that so many people call him a friend.
If you have time Sunday, then take a trip to Madisonville, find Friends Coastal restaurant (407 St. Tammany Street), and join in Hokie Fest, sponsored by Abadie Realty, a venture including popular local bands, raffles, auctions and food from local restaurants.
Proceeds will go to “Hokie Tough,” the fund-raising arm helping the Gajan’s with mounting medical bills.
Donations will be accepted, but sponsor Mark Abadie said, “It’s a great way for the local community to give back to somebody who’s put out for us the whole time he’s been around. He’s a great legend in our town.”
Hours are 11 a.m.-8 p.m. A $5 or greater donation will get you one or more raffle tickets. Hokie Fest organizers said auction items include a Super Bowl MVP football autographed by Peyton and Eli Manning, Zurich Classic tickets, fishing trips, rounds of golf and “Hokie Tough” t-shirts.