This issue of the Free Press marks the start of our seventh year of publishing. That means this is the 317th Partly Nonsense column I have written. It may not seem remarkable to you, but it does to me because I never thought I would be doing a column in the first place. Partner “News Don” (Ratzlaff), as we call him in the office, made me do it.

I’ve always worried about repeating myself, but some of my friends who are even more senior than me have suggested I could start repeating what I have written and no one would know the difference. That very well could be.

Most startup newspapers don’t make it past the first year. Without our terrific staff, we wouldn’t have either.

Amy and the boys were just here for the Marion County Fair and we feel like we have been through a whirlwind. As soon as I opened the car door when we got to town, the boys were asking about when were we going to set up the model train. Then, 20 minutes after their arrival, our apartment was wall-to-wall toys. How do they do that?

We talked about the day when the boys could come see us for the summer without their mom or dad. They decided that the summer would be too long but maybe a week would be OK.

Actually, we couldn’t take it for a whole summer. They didn’t stop running or jumping around the whole time they were here. They even jump around until the minute before they fall asleep.

One of their antics was for older brother Alex to cover up with the throw pillows on the couch and then little brother Louie would stand on the arm rest and take a flying leap, landing on top of him. I could picture them banging heads and a trip to the emergency room, but they were lucky.

The fair parade was a sight to see under perfect weather conditions. I couldn’t help but notice that Vernon Bartel and Harold Kasper were riding through on their horses for probably the 50th time or so.

I asked the spouse of one of them, and the number is about right. The horses they were riding probably weren’t the same ones they started with, though.

I took the boys to the rodeo for the third straight year and they loved it. Alex said he was going to participate in the calf scramble next year and thought it was quite funny when the announcer told one of the young scramblers, who had just pulled a ribbon off of a calf’s tail, not to lick his hand.

Louie was pretty tired one morning and said he’d take a nap on the way to the doughnut shop. He’s used to riding in the car for everything in Atlanta and didn’t think about the doughnuts being right out our back door.

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