Next week’s Faribault County Register will be different – something will be missing.
For the first time in more than 20 years, the Register will not contain a ‘Quaday’s Quotes’ column.
Dick Quaday, our featured columnist, has decided it might be time to hang it up. You can read his final column, where he wraps up some loose ends, and bids his fond farewell to his readers, below.
He and I both want our readers to know this was a mutual decision.
Dick still feels he has some good columns left in him, and I think he is probably right.
But, at age 90, he has decided it might be time to ‘retire’ from this job.
Dick tells me he has “worn out” six editors over the 20 years and three months that he wrote the column.
He thought it was five. But, Register publisher Lori Nauman found out it was six. I guess one was here for a very short time, and Dick couldn’t even remember the name.
He does remember that it was editor Rich Glennie, now of Glencoe, who hired him.
And, he remembers that he had to educate each editor after that, as to what his column was supposed to be about. That included getting a little upset when an editor would change a thing or two in the column, or argue over a point.
But, for the most part, his column was his own. Dick says he was always grateful that the Register printed his columns, and that the editors over the years were willing to let him pick his subjects and get away with a thing or two.
I’m amazed that he created an interesting column week after week. As someone who has tried to do the same thing over the past 35 years or so, I know it is difficult. Sometimes even impossible.
Sometimes the column just flows out; other times you just sit in front of the keyboard with no idea what to write about.
In my case, a computer screen is involved. In Dick’s case, it is a typewriter keyboard. That’s right, he has written all of his columns on an old manual typewriter.
He says that in all 20 years, he has only had to start over on a column a couple of times. Otherwise, they just flowed out, with few changes needed. (Of course, the editor has sometimes worked a little magic later).
Doing the math, Dick has written 1,130 columns since he first started.
He says he has never missed a week.
Well, there was that time that he was scheduled to have surgery in Rochester. He wrote the column at home before he left, but he forgot to tell his wife Neva to deliver it to the Register – so there was one issue in which a column didn’t appear.
Dick has upset a few people over the years, especially when he wrote about religion and politics. And, yes, there was the occasional reader who wondered why we kept running his opinions. Or, dropped their subscription in protest.
The reason we ran them, of course, was for our readers to enjoy, whether they agreed with him or not.
Many have sent him notes over the years, asking him to keep writing, forever. I guess that is not going to happen.
How are we going to replace him? Well, you can’t really replace a columnist with a similar type of column, as everyone has their own style.
We have chosen to start running a column by well-known writer, humorist and story teller, Al Batt.
Batt is from rural Hartland, and has spoken before groups in this area in the past.
He writes a weekly newspaper column, and does a radio show three times a week.
He has also written for magazines, cartoon strips, and books (such as the Chicken Soup for the Soul series).
Batt is also well known as a naturalist and conservationalist, and has written about those pursuits as well. He is a contributing author to the book ‘Minnesota Bird Watching,’ as well as some others.
He has won numerous awards both for his writing and his nature work, including being named to several birder Halls of Fame.
Plus, he says, his mother thinks he is pretty special, too.
We think our readers of the Register will enjoy his weekly column. To give you an idea of what they are like, one is included in this week’s paper, just to start you out.
So, starting next week, ‘Quaday’s Quotes’ comes to an end.
Dick thanked me and the Register for running his piece for 20 years. Actually, it is we who should say thanks.
Or should I say, “Danke Schön?”