We've known the day was coming since last year.
Should have been plenty of time to accept and prepare.
But still, it's a shock.
Our friend Rich Davis from the Evansville Courier & Press is putting down his pen.
And his laptop.
Surely there was a typo in Rich's column in the Sunday paper. It said he was 62.
Rich, indeed, was "old school"; but never old.
"Old school" in that he believed in face-to-face, take-your-time interviews. He'd sit down for a chat, smiling that almost-shy, sweet smile. He'd really listen. And then he'd craft a story. Not an article, but a story.
I first met Rich in 1992, when he came to Holiday World to cover our bungee jumping show. We did "the bungee thing" for just one season and Rich was fascinated.
At least once a season, sometimes more, for the next two decades we looked forward to seeing Rich in person at the park. And he always rode what the new ride was — from The Raven in 1995 to Wildebeest just last May.
There were phone calls, too. He got to teasing me late each season: "Hey, Paula — I'm reading online you're getting a new coaster. What can you tell me?" Oh, Rich … you know I can't tell you anything yet…
Over the last five years or so, Rich has had to push beyond old-school duties. Suddenly he was also photographer and videographer.
"Paula … do you know how to work this thing? They showed me right before I left to come up here, but I'm not sure which button…"
Here's Rich back in 2008, interviewing Will the morning we announced Pilgrims Plunge. Rich took notes, recorded audio, plus shot photos and video.
That next spring, we planned a tweet-up for the first rides on Pilgrims Plunge. Rich wanted to follow the contest to choose the first riders, but called me in a near-frantic state, hoping I remembered his Twitter handle.
Old-school came in handy with his pal Frieda. Rich interviewed our perennial "flower lady" several times over the decades. Whenever Rich and I spoke, he'd always ask, "How's Frieda?"
When Frieda retired two years ago, we didn't want to turn her party into a media event, but still we invited two journalist friends, including Rich. Last year, he was even invited to her 100th birthday celebration.
Hmmm. Rich is retiring at 62 and Frieda retired at 99.
Rich — if you're looking to start a second career, we're still hiring in Rides…