Actually, he never left.
Me, that's who.
Maybe you didn't notice I was gone, and that's okay. Back in 2000, after haranguing you for more than four years with my Reed Creek Journal, I turned the Reed Creek cottage over to its rightful owner, turned this page over to executive editor Wendy Clarke, and kicked myself upstairs, where I have been working tirelessly and thanklessly as Punctuation Ombudsman and Chief Fussbudget and Sworn Enemy of Unnecessary Adjectives. I also water the plants.
But now, as I may have mentioned, I'm back. To those who will react badly to this news-because you just don't like me, like that kid Steve in fifth grade who would sometimes slug me for no good reason, or because you're a fan of Wendy's marvelous Weather Eye column-don't worry. Wendy isn't leaving us; her new monthly column, Off the Charts, debuts this month. And if it's because you just don't like me, like that kid Steve . . . well, I can live with that, as long as you don't slug me. Okay? No hitting.
There are other ground rules. You may disagree with me, you may challenge my assertions and correct my grammar; you may knock me down, step on my face, slander my name all over the place, but you may not, under any circumstances, point out how much fatter and grayer I am now than I was nine years ago. Understand? Das ist verboten.
For me, by contrast, there are no rules. More often than not, I expect, I'll use this space to call your attention to what I consider the most compelling aspects of each issue-in this one, for instance, Wendy Clarke's excellent feature on the quiet and insular world at the tip of the Virginia's Middle Peninsula ["Land's End,"], or writer-illustrator Jan Adkins's wonderfully droll allocution on the naming of boats ["A Rose By Any Other Name . . . Would Need More Paint,"], or John Ross's sweet father-daughter kayaking adventure in Janes Island State Park, near Crisfield, Md. ["Double Your Fun,"].
But, because this column is called "From the Editor" and I am the editor in question (some would say questionable editor), I reserve the right to wander as far off the reservation as may be necessary to give you something interesting to chew on. So, in that sense, I am constrained by at least one hard and fast rule-to always give you something interesting. That's convenient, because that also happens to be a guiding principle of the magazine. "First do no humdrum," we like to say.
That much I can promise you.
It's good to be back.