I’ve enjoyed four incredible years in Selma

Published 7:55 pm Wednesday, May 10, 2017

It’s weird the way timing works. On May 13, 2013, I accepted my position at The Selma Times-Journal from then editor, Tim Reeves. I still remember the first time I drove into Selma with my girlfriend — now wife — and we looked around the city we’d call our home for the next four years.

At that time, we had no clue how many opportunities this city would open for us in the future. Now, on May 13, 2017 — exactly four years to the day — we’re moving on to LaGrange, Georgia, where I’ve accepted a position with the LaGrange Daily News.

When my car pulls out of Selma for the last time — over the Edmund Pettus Bridge and across the state line — it’s going to be a weird feeling. I’ll probably immediately flashback to my first interview with Tim and Dennis Palmer, our publisher, when they met a young kid from Woodstock, Alabama (more commonly known as S-Town now, thanks to its podcast fame) and decided to give him a chance to see a dream come true.

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I’d always wanted to be a journalist, but having worked my way through school, there wasn’t a lot of experience on my resume. They allowed me to start my career, make mistakes and learn from them. I couldn’t be more grateful to the two of them and to Justin Averette, who took over as editor almost three years ago.

This week I’ve smiled thinking back at some of the things I’ll miss when I’m no longer here. I’ll miss Norman Copeland’s famous Rolllllllll Tide at all of the Selma Quarterback Club and Dallas-Wilcox Bama Club meetings I’ve attended through the years.

I’ll miss Dallas County coach Willie Moore coming up to me before every game he coached and asking “Daniel, who’s going to win tonight?” I’ll miss laughing it up with Tommy Tisdale, who was inevitably going to say “I told the guys” in every interview.

I’ll miss curiously looking outside my window as buses stopped to walk over the Edmund Pettus Bridge and trying to figure out where they were from.

I’ll never forget the hour and change former Times-Journal photographer Jay Sowers and I spent interviewing and photographing Ted Henry, an inspiring man who beamed with pride about Selma. I’ll also never forget Elton Reece, who dropped everything he was doing if I needed to do an interview with him. Both of them left us too soon.

The great thing about working in Selma was that you never knew who was going to come for a visit. Oprah, Bill Cosby, John Legend, Jim Harbaugh and Barack Obama were just some of the people who visited during my time here.

I’ll always remember Alaina Deshazo and I having both Cosby and Harbaugh one-on-one for interviews. There’s nowhere else in the country that would happen for a community newspaper journalist. Selma just has a way of opening doors.

I’ll never forget watching Dallas County win the state basketball championship and William Lee’s buzzer beating 3-pointer at the end of regulation. It’s still one of the best games I’ve ever been to.

The first college football game I ever covered for the Times-Journal was the Kick-6. For the rest of my life, I’ll tell people about watching Auburn’s Chris Davis streak down the sideline in the greatest college football game ever played.

Personally, a lot has changed in my life in Selma too.

Alyssa and I got married during our time here and are now expecting our first child. I’ll never forget telling Blake and Alaina — the first two people we told of our pregnancy news and seeing how excited they were.

So, yes, it’s going to be incredibly hard to leave. We’ll always be grateful for the time we spent here and all the memories. Thank you, Selma. We’re going to miss you.