It's the blog's birthday today. Hard to believe it's been 16 years since I scrawled off the first post on Dec. 4, 2004, but I checked, and sure enough about more than 5,800 posts ago, Slight Detour was born.
Twas inspired by my brother Jim's cartoons and by David Oliveria, whom we referred to in those days as the "Blogfather."
Dave worked as a columnist for the Spokesman-Review newspaper at the time, and when he decided to try blogging with his "Huckleberries," some of his fans from the region soon followed with their own versions.
In my mind, the blog was envisioned as just an experiment soon to be put aside in favor of another pursuit. Also, in my mind, I would never have dreamed that 16 years later, I'd still be at it every morning pushing for a deadline of 8 a.m.
After all, a few years in to this process, I hired an editor, for free.
Since that time, if my blog wasn't posted by 8 a.m. sharp, Helen Newton either got on the phone or shot off an email, wondering "if everything was all right out there."
I will note that Helen occasionally sleeps in these days, but how am I to know which days she picks for an extra snooze.
So, I still push myself frantically like a big bong is gonna go off in my head if I'm putting the final touches on each morning's production and the clock has struck 8 a.m.
It's truly a crazy thing to hold oneself to such a daily responsibility, especially when long retired, but I've always been a little crazy, so what the heck!
Following the general guidelines of keeping the blog family friendly, generally upbeat and often fun, I've gradually added elements over the years and have gradually drifted toward including more photography and more recently, my favorite music.
I also always keep my audience in mind.
Regulars range from friends, family, locals, former students and readers from all over the world.
My hope each morning is that something included in each post will resonate with someone or maybe, even at times, with the entire audience.
Sometimes, I'm genuinely surprised when something seemingly mundane to me evokes enthusiastic responses from members of the audience.
It's especially fun and heart-warming to hear from readers who may have grown up in Sandpoint but live far, far away. Providing them with a sense of "home" through stories or photos makes me happy.
I also love the motivations and personal satisfaction associated with this daily routine: discipline, creativity, quirkiness, always working on improving my writing and photography and, of course, the treasured connections with blog readers I know well or even many whom I've never met.
The blog has definitely meant an open book for me, my family and many of my friends.
Nonetheless, when those slices of life reveal triumph, deep sadness and loss, tales of exemplary human beings, a rich, simple life, laughing at one's self and commonality, it all seems worth it.
Veering off on all these slight detours has been a fulfilling and fun run these past 16 years.
I have no idea how long I'll keep at it.
In the very recent past, a couple of folks knew my private plans to simply write "The End" if certain circumstances dictated that need.
Happily, they did not.
So, we'll move on into Year No. 17.
As is often the case when I sit down to start writing, I have no idea where the road will take us---but hoping that when Year 17 is complete, some of the major subjects of late will have turned into distant memories on that road behind us.
Thank you, to all who have in the past and continue to inspire me. Also, deep thanks to readers who have stuck with this work in progress and to those who, over these past 16 years, have joined in on the slightdetour fun.
I appreciate you all.