It’s time for me to go home

Published 9:23 pm Friday, December 29, 2023

This may be my last column.

After 44 years as a journalist — the last 12 spent here at The Vicksburg Post — I am putting away my computer, clearing out my desk, handing back my keys and retiring.

I’ve been considering retirement for about two years, initially planning to cover one more city election before I closed my career. But after getting a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease a few years ago coupled with some other minor health problems I decided it was time to move ahead and turn in my notice so I could spend time

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with my family, catch up on my reading and doing something I hardly ever got to do as a reporter — play tourist. I want to experience some places here and in other areas of the south that I visited, wrote about but never had the time to truly enjoy.

As I look back on the past 44 years, there have been times when I wanted to get out of the business and pursue something less stressful and financially more rewarding but like the reporter Hildy Johnson in newspaper comedy, “The Front Page,” I kept coming back, or, to quote Michael Corleone in Godfather III, “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.”

So here I sit at my desk, pounding away at my keyboard and trying to find ways of expressing myself in what may be the last column I ever write for a newspaper.

Notice that I wrote “may be.” One of the things I’ve learned in this business is to never say “never.” I plan to remain in Vicksburg with my family and have offered my services to The Post on a freelance basis so in the future you may see my name in the paper from time to time. Of course, as I have told others, a year from now I may be banging on the paper’s door to come back to work or the crew may arrive one morning to find me bound and gagged with a note from my wife saying, “Give him something to do! He’s driving me crazy!”

It goes without saying there will be some things I’ll miss — the people I’ve worked with over the years and the relationships and friendships we developed; the characters I’ve met along the way – those people who brought some humor and made the job interesting.

I’ll miss the assignments at the Vicksburg National Military Park and the visits to ERDC and the Corps of Engineers for stories and the challenge of covering state and local government.

So to those of you who kept asking me when I was going to retire, now you know. To those who said I couldn’t retire, sorry, it had to happen sometime but just keep watching.

For 44 years I have had the pleasure of doing something I enjoyed. It’s been a great ride but it’s time for this old tiger to take it to the den. Thanks for being a part of my life.




About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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