I told a story to a room full of people earlier this week about a young journalism-school intern who worked for us this past spring. His name is Sascha Porteous.
His first day here, he attended our morning "story meeting" - that's where reporters and editors sit around and chew the fat about what's being covered for the day.
They're fun meetings, there's lots of laughter and the humour can get a little dark at times. A few minutes into the meeting, photographer Keith Anderson poked his head in the door and said, "There's a guy with a gun down at Riverside Park." Then he was gone.
Tracy Gilchrist, our city editor, looked at young Sascha and said, "Go."
A panic-stricken look came over his face, but only for a moment before he hurried out. Then Tracy sent a senior reporter to watch over him.
We all thought it was a pretty good joke. Poor Sascha, on the other hand, was probably wondering, "Is looking for crazy guys with guns really journalism?"
Well, it is, but only in part. Journalists, Big City or Small Town, deal with people who, for better or worse, make the news. People who wave guns around, people who do good deeds, people who lead and inspire us.
This summer I've had the gift of seeing journalism through the eyes of Sascha and a couple of other bright young people by the names of Larkin Schmiedl and Hugo Yuen.
Larkin comes out of the TRU journalism program; Hugo has been filling in as a part-time photographer for the past year or so. The night I talked about Sascha's first day, Hugo informed me he's decided to make photo-journalism his career.
As they discover the newspaper business and plan their futures in it, they remind me of me when I started here.
My heroes then were people like Bruce Hutchison, Mike Royko, Jack Webster and Andy Rooney.
They weren't sunshine people. Royko penned, "Show me somebody who is always smiling, always cheerful, always optimistic, and I will show you somebody who hasn't the faintest idea what the heck is really going on."
Rooney, who kept working till he was 92, would say things like, "I have never met a cat I liked," and "Not everyone has a right to his own opinion. If he doesn't know the facts, his opinion doesn't count."
One thing the Rooneys, Hutchisons et al had in common - they started young, and never lost their love of journalism.
When I came to this newspaper in my early 20s, I couldn't afford to finish my journalism degree. My boss, Harry Francis, gave me an entire summer off at full pay, and told me to go get my schooling done. He and his wife Lil were there at my retirement swan song this week.
I was honoured on that evening to learn that a TRU journalism bursary will be created in my name. There could be no better gift than to have my name put to something that will help a new generation get into this wonderful business.
Oh, and as Steve Jobs would say, one more thing. My successor, Robert Koopmans, says I can keep writing a column once a week.
So though yesterday was my "last day" and I won't be coming into the office as I have for so many years, I'll see you on this page next Thursday.