I've never been that great at goodbyes. I don't like the idea of soft-pedaling something or beating around the bush when simplicity will do just as well. I say that to tell you that this will be my last column. I'm hanging up my spurs -- which only makes sense, since I don't have a horse to ride and they're poking holes in all the upholstery.

Effective today, I'm saying goodbye to my friends at The Times Leader, and to you, all of you who have taken a few minutes to read the 500 or so words I put down on the page every week, here in my corner of the newspaper.

It's been a good run, I think -- more ups than downs but a fair amount of both, as could be expected in the span of 17 years. I was only a dunce of 22 then, still wet behind the ears, and now I'm closing in on 40, older and maybe, hopefully, marginally wiser - as always, I could be wrong.

In those days, the Internet was still very much its own thing - a digital destination, accessed slowly, for somewhat limited purposes. And the newspaper was the newspaper, its own thing, where everyone went to get their news. You paid your bills at whatever office was involved, or put them in the mail in time to make the due date. You watched whatever was on cable or picked up a movie at the video store. You listened to the radio, or the tapes and CDs in your collection.

Lots has changed since then, hasn't it? Now the "thing" we used to visit is the "thing" we can't live without, with our personal information and private conversations floating in an electric cloud and all the moments of our lives weighed according to the reactions they may earn from others.

Some say the newspaper may not have a place in this new reality. But as much as I loathe the relentless intrusion of technology into modern life, I have to disagree. There will always be a place for the newspaper, in your life (yes, you) and in the lives of everyone else in the community. If nothing else, let it serve as the antidote to ego-based, self-aggrandizing content. There is nothing less fake than community news, and you can take that to the bank (or put it in your Bitcoin wallet).

Interesting times are ahead for all of us, this newspaper included, as we all work to navigate a new era where traditional standards - fairness, accuracy, timeliness and objectivity - intersect with digital avenues - websites, social media, breaking news and exclusive content.

It's pretty exciting, honestly. And that's why I'm getting out of the way. It's time for The Times Leader to catch up with the 21st century, and I believe that time is at hand.

I am leaving you in the capable hands of the paper's new editor, Brittney Meredith-Miller, who will oversee The Times Leader as well as the Lyon County Herald Ledger. She and the rest of the staff here are committed to delivering a quality paper to your mailbox or newsstand - twice a week in print and around the clock online. This is a fact.

If I am allowed to ask anything of you, it is this: give the paper your support. Stop complaining about the way things used to be and start working to make things the best they can be.

Pick up an issue. Renew your subscription. Send in your announcements. Advertise your business. Support the people whose main function is supporting you. I think you will find it will pay off.

With that, I'll leave it with you, until next time. It's been a pleasure being a part of your lives and allowing me to share your stories all these years. Take care -- I'll see you around.