By Joe Hallett, from The Columbus Dispatch

Time marches on.

And it’s marching past me.

So I need to slow it down, squeeze it for all it’s worth and get what I can from what’s left of it.

That means no more deadlines, no more missed dinners, no more campaigns, no more politicians and no more columns.

That means time to do something else, time to really think about other things, time to write the novel that’s rattled around my head for 35 years, time for two fishing trips a year, time to spend with my grandson, the new joy of my life.

That means retirement.

Back on May 15, 1972, a lifetime ago, I never imagined this column. My first day as a reporter for the Fulton County Expositor in Wauseon, my beloved hometown, hardly portended 42 years of newspapering. But I quickly felt the passion and realized that being an ink-stained wretch was my destiny, a dream fulfilled under three storied mastheads — The Blade in Toledo, The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, and, for the past 15 years, The Dispatch.

Along the way, there have been more than 7,000 bylines on stories, too many of which I scarcely remember covering and writing.

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