Talk to most Monday-to-Friday employees and they’ll tell you today is probably their least favourite day of the work week.
The weekend goes by too fast and no matter how many cups of coffee we pour down our gullets on a Monday morning, it always takes twice as long for the caffeine to kick in and for our minds to get back into the workplace routine.
For those of us who ply our trade in the newsroom of The Daily News, though, today is an especially tough Monday.
It begins a week of “finals” and “lasts” as we watch an iconic figure prepare for an exciting new chapter in his life.
By now, most of you have heard that our editor Mel Rothenburger is retiring at the end of this week. It was announced months ago and Mel has written about it in past columns, so it’s hardly a secret.
What is less publicly known, though, is how his staff is handling the impending departure and how these next few days will be particularly difficult as we watch the finals and lasts unfold.
This week, for the last time, we will see our editor drive up in that old truck of his. We will watch him unlock his office door one final time, his thermos of green tea tucked under one arm, before sliding into that big office chair of his.
Our page layout crew will hand him the editorial page to proof and he will, after careful inspection, sign a capital R one last time when the page is ready to go.
He will walk to the lunchroom a final time; lead a final story meeting; pound that poor keyboard of his like it’s an old manual typewriter one last time. And for the last time, at least in the newsroom, we’ll hear him say, “Goodnight” before he rounds the hallway leading to the back door.
The emotional beings among us will be misty eyed from the start; that’s a given. There will be hugs and tears and recollections of days gone by . . . “Hey, remember when . . .?” and “Boy, those were fun times.”
But even the most stoic among us won’t be able to ignore the emotional weight of the moment.
After all, it will be the end of an era.
Mel has been with The Daily News since its earliest days, when it was called the Kamloops News Advertiser. He has watched it grow from a weekly to a daily and has held just about every position in the newsroom over 42 years – reporter, columnist, editor.
Saying goodbye won’t be easy.
We’re sending Mel off in style, though. We’ve got a few tricks up our sleeve that we know will put a smile on the big guy’s face.
In the meantime, today begins a challenging week for the staff as we prepare to say farewell to our leader, mentor and friend. We wish Mel all the best as he begins his retirement and we hope he doesn’t forget about us too soon.
We won’t forget about him.
We Say editorials represent the viewpoint of The Daily News and are written by editor Robert Koopmans, city editor Tracy Gilchrist, news editor Mike Cornell or associate news editors Dan Spark and Mark Rogers.