I’ve heard the phrase “when life gives you lemons……” a thousand times but that sentence has become true for me in the past year. I think the biggest takeaway is how I handled those lemons.

Most recently, both of my young female reporters have decided it was their time to move on and advance their careers and education. First Bailey Freestone, sports reporter for the Dallas County News and now Kiley Wellendorf, staff reporter for the Perry Chief.

While I can’t and won’t find fault in wanting to grow, it does set me back a step. I’ve hired and fired my share of individuals in my career as a newspaper Publisher but it never gets any easier when someone comes into your office and hands you that piece of paper with their two weeks notice on it.

Bailey had covered the sports scene for four high schools in the southern part of the county and was always so reliable and dependable. Her circumstances were unique while working for us but she made the best of it and was always there when we needed her to be. She was hired for sports but covered politics, education and parades to name a few others.

Kiley came to the Chief in February of 2017 fresh out of college and was a Godsend. I’d just come off of a bad hire and we were struggling to put out good, solid news. She jumped right in and made herself known in town.

Her writing style is positive and refreshing. It wasn’t hard for her to make the people of Perry trust her once they saw her stories and realized that she was a true journalist in every sense of the word. I think it’s safe to say she has made many friends while being employed at the Chief.

In my personal life, I was fresh off the loss of my husband of 29 years, a single homeowner and still new to town myself. Talk about a handful of lemons.

New found friends have been my saving grace. There were times when I wanted to throw back the lemons and ask for chocolate. But I chose to keep them and ask for gin to go along with the lemonade I was going to make. Being surrounded by positive people helped me maintain my positive attitude.

While I’m between sports reporters with the Dallas County News, my editor, Clint Cole, has stepped up and covered the sports scene as well as his regular duties. I’ve even had community members offer to help us with coverage and photos of sporting events.

Instead of being upset that Kiley is choosing to further her education, I went right to town to find a replacement. I’ve already filled Kiley’s position and the new reporter starts Wednesday, Feb. 28. I’m confident that the community of Perry will love this new person just like they do Kiley. I will miss her and wish her the very best life has to offer. You mark my words, she’ll be somebody someday.

The lemons will keep coming. That’s just life. The way you choose to deal with those lemons makes all the difference and I, for one, am glad that I’m learning how to throw back those lemons and go on with a very positive life.