Did you know?

A toast to a great five years

By Paul Viau | Mar 05, 2014
Photo by: Carol Viau THANKS FOR PUTTING UP WITH ME — The past five years have been a wild, but enjoyable ride. Hang in there, because DYK the best is yet to come.

As the expression goes, “Time flies when you’re having a good time.” So it comes as both a milestone, and surprise to me that I have been doing a weekly column in The Guide for five (as in “High-Five") years.

In all that time, I have only missed two weeks of publication — once because there was too much ‘real art and entertainment’ going on in Haywood County, and another time when The Mountaineer staff just up and forgot to put my column in.

No harm done — I needed a little break.

Still, five years is a remarkable achievement — for me, especially — when you consider that the first four jobs in my career lasted just short of two years each, as I hopped up the advertising agency ladder from copywriter to senior copywriter to associate creative director.

That decade jerked my blurry-eyed family around from Denver to Kansas City to St. Louis. It’s a wonder that any of them still talk to me. Gratefully, I settled down after that, spending time and making roots in both Kansas City and Miami.

Those were some very good career years, as I became a so-not-like-Don-Draper creative director. But those years also saw the loss of my first wife to colon cancer, followed by years of healing — eventually leading to the joy of finding my wonderful new soul mate, Carol.

For 24 years, Carol has been my light, my anchor, my compass and my muse. Most recently, she has suggested and inspired countless “Did you know?” columns and saved readers from many a dull and demented diatribe. Oh yes, she has also dutifully edited my column for AP style.

The past five years have been a great ride. I’ve met and been inspired by so many Haywood County artists, artisans, business owners, civic leaders and public servants. I’ve learned so much about our close and connected community. Oh yes, I’ve also gained a trivial pursuit mastery of subjects far and wide — from bees to beer to goats and gardening.

During this time, I have become more involved. I have stepped outside my comfort zone and grown as a writer. And even though we are dialing back our extracurricular activities a bit, and traveling a little more, our heart and thoughts will always take us back to Haywood County.

I know this sounds like I am about to say goodbye to “Did you know?” as you know it — Far from it.

You’ll still see my mug in The Guide regularly.

Did you know? — I want to spend the next few weeks looking back and celebrating some of my (and your) favorite columns. I promise this won’t be a boring rehash of the past five years. That would have all of you fainting like goats.

I want my column to be fresh and informative — and in simple terms be “The real McCoy.” Which is what I wrote about exactly five years ago the first week in March — how the very collectible McCoy pottery did not ­inspire the expression, “Real McCoy.” That honor goes to a brand of scotch whiskey.

Next week I’ll update another column I wrote in March, 2009 and tell you why you really need to “Keep an eye on the sky,” especially in Maggie Valley.

Isn’t it fun what you learn reading The Mountaineer?