Farewell, Dear Friends, Farewell

The Boyertown Area Times - - OPINION - Don Meyer, Ph.D. Think About It Dr. Don Meyer is pres­i­dent emer­i­tus of the Univer­sity of Val­ley Forge, Phoenixville. Con­nect via dg­meyer@ val­ley­forge.edu, Face­book.com/ DrDonMeyer, www.DrDonMeyer. com, Twit­ter and In­sta­gram: @ DrDonMeyer.

“Good­byes are not for­ever; good­byes are not the end. They sim­ply mean I’ll miss you, un­til we meet again.” — Anony­mous

On March 23, 2002, The Phoenix pub­lished my first Think About It col­umn; 15 years and, af­ter to­day, 757 col­umns later, this will be my last. And, since this is my last col­umn, I feel like I have a mil­lion things I want to say but, as usual, I am lim­ited to about 685 words.

First, I will al­ways be pro­foundly grate­ful to Stan Huskey, ed­i­tor of The Phoenix in 2002, as well as sub­se­quent ed­i­tors, who al­lowed me to have this small voice in our won­der­ful Phoenixville com­mu­nity and beyond. I could never have reached this mo­ment with­out their warm pro­fes­sion­al­ism and con­sis­tent gen­eros­ity to in­clude my col­umn in their ed­i­to­rial de­ci­sions.

I have loved writ­ing this weekly col­umn. Over the years my goal has re­mained the same. Af­ter read­ing the col­umn, I wanted peo­ple to say, “I didn’t know that” or “I wish I had said that” or “That was re­ally in­ter­est­ing” or even “That made me smile.” Some colum­nists try to stir up con­tro­versy but that was never my goal.

Where did I get my ideas? Just about ev­ery­where. I was al­ways look­ing for them. Ideas were like plants. They started as a seed, just one thought loaded with po­ten­tial. Soon a lit­tle sprout emerged, frag­ile and a mere vi­sion of the fu­ture. In time, it grew to full bloom. Gar­den­ers and writ­ers have a lot in com­mon. Over the years you and I have pon­dered top­ics from but­ter­flies to cur­rent events and from boomerangs to com­mu­nity lead­ers and beyond.

Evie and I came to Phoenixville from Min­neapo­lis in 1997 to serve at the Univer­sity of Val­ley Forge. I had no idea then that within five years I would have this won­der­ful op­por­tu­nity to con­nect with so many new friends through this weekly com­mu­nique. Over these years we have seen the trans­for­ma­tion of Phoenixville be­fore our very eyes as a pre­ferred place to work, live and play.

On June 30, 2016, Evie and I re­tired from our min­istry at the Univer­sity of Val­ley Forge. We will al­ways cher­ish our 19 years there. Now we stand on the side­lines cheer­ing UVF on to greater vic­to­ries in the days ahead. A piece of UVF will al­ways be in our hearts.

Around the begin­ning of Fe­bru­ary 2017 we will be mov­ing to Lan­caster, Pa., where we will be closer to fam­ily and child­hood friends. But as we leave this area, we will also take a bit of our beloved Phoenixville with us. We will al­ways be pro­foundly grate­ful for the friend­ships we have made here and the gra­cious ways you have treated us dur­ing this sea­son in our lives. We came as strangers but now we leave with Phoenixville and count­less new friends wrapped around our hearts.

We are so very proud to have been in this com­mu­nity. To­gether, we have bro­ken ground and cut rib­bons. To­gether we have at­tended cel­e­bra­tions and funer­als. To­gether, we have la­bored over agen­das in busi­ness meet­ings. To­gether, we have bought gro­ceries, had our clothes dry-cleaned, filled our cars with gas, voted for our fa­vorite can­di­dates, at­tended First Fri­day events and taken de­tours while new bridges were be­ing built.

I will miss those times when our paths crossed and you oc­ca­sion­ally men­tioned some­thing in­ter­est­ing and then with a twin­kle in your eye you would abruptly stop and say, “Think about it.” We both knew you were re­fer­ring to my col­umn. But now the time has come to bid you farewell, dear friends, farewell.

In 1903, Dr. Jeremiah E. Rankin, the sixth pres­i­dent of Howard Univer­sity, wrote the words for one of my fa­vorite hymns. This is my prayer for you.

“God be with you till we meet again; By his coun­sels guide, up­hold you; With his sheep se­curely fold you, God be with you till we meet again.” Think about it.

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