I strive to avoid using clichés but sometimes it is unavoidable. All good things must come to an end, and my stint as a columnist for The Herald has ended.
I never thought my run in this spot would last as long as it did. I began writing the column back in February 2004. I had written sporadically for the San Francisco Chronicle and The Examiner, but had never done anything on a regular basis. The first column appeared three months after my wife passed away. I was fairly new to the Peninsula and didn’t know a lot of people. The column got me out into the community, and more importantly, it got me out of myself. In essence, writing this column was the catharsis that I like to say brought me back to the present tense. In my very first column I wrote: “I hope in future columns you’ll get to know a little about me, who I am, and what I’m doing on these pages.” If you don’t know who I am by now you’re spending too much time keeping up with the Kardashians on television.
And it did, indeed, get me out into the community. Without the column I am sure I would never had jumped out of a perfectly good airplane, driven a race car at Mazda Laguna Seca, gone rock climbing, or gotten a tattoo, so I could let readers know what those things felt like. The column gave me the opportunity to interview the gracious Sandra Day O’Connor, as well as well-known authors Greg Mortenson, Khalid Hosseini and Irshad Manji.
Through the column I was able to get involved with Reading Is Fundamental, The Lenten Dinners at San Carlos Cathedral, The Salvation Army, The SPCA, The Friends of the Monterey Library, and the wonderful folks who run the Adopt A Nurse for Christmas Program at MPC. (By the way that program is coming up soon, so please call 646-4258 for more information.) I am continually impressed with the generosity of Peninsula residents and grateful that so many of you responded when I asked for help for these worthwhile organizations that do so much good in our community. I hope you will continue your support.
I want to thank the fine folks at The Herald who gave me so much encouragement. Carolina Garcia took a chance on me when I was an unknown quantity. Mike Hale, Dave Jackson, and Mike de Give put up with all my shenanigans, and Joe Livernois always made me feel like I was a real newspaper man. I would ask that you continue to support this little gem of a paper. It is still the best way to keep current on what’s happening where you live. I look at a newspaper as a brief textbook of history updated every day.
Most of all I want to thank all of you, especially those of you who took the time to send me an email, call me on the phone, or stop me in the street to comment on something I wrote. I strove for humor, but hopefully, some honesty and integrity came along with it.
If you like what I’ve written and would like to read me in a different format, please go to my website: www.jerrygervase.com. I will continue a version of this column in the section called “Jerry’s Blog.” I hope you’ll go there often, or at least every Sunday morning. And please leave comments or write to me at email@example.com. Perhaps this is my last chance at shameless self-promotion, so I want you to know I am putting together a book of columns that will include material that never appeared in Central Coasting. When it is ready I’ll announce it on my website and on Facebook.
As for me, I am fine. This has been just one episode in the movie that is my life. Each episode ends with “to be continued.” I can’t wait to see what is next. It’s been fun being a minor celebrity living beside a major ocean. However, I want to tell you a story that always puts things into perspective for me. Years ago I entered a poem in the Fine Arts Competition Division at the Alameda County Fair. My poem won an honorable mention — no big deal since there was a first place, second place and everyone who entered received an honorable mention. When I went to receive my award, a ribbon, of course, I was amazed at how big the ribbon was. I asked the presenter how big the ribbon was for whoever won honorable mention in, say, the pig division. I was told that the ribbon would be the same size as mine. So whenever I start to get a big head over my accomplishments, I have this reality check that tells me somewhere there’s a pig who is doing as well as I am.
People always asked me what my column was about when they learned that I was a columnist. I would tell them that once a week I get to empty out a very cluttered mind. The mind is still cluttered, now mostly with all the good memories I’m taking along into the next episode of my movie. Ciao.
Jerry Gervase is no longer a columnist for The Herald. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.