To the Tri-Region, thanks for everything! Evan J. PRETZER

Hello dear readers. We have been through a lot together since I first came to this community in 2018. There have been heroic stories of people fighting for their health, many a moment which highlighted musicians from all backgrounds and now I can say something I knew was coming from the time I first moved to a turbulent residence in Stony Plain many years ago on my next stop in my journey as a journalist;

I am exiting the Stony Plain Reporter and Grove Examiner newspapers.

It is true. The process I began in 2019 to emigrate from here and start a life with my wonderful fiancée in the United States has finally resumed after being shut down because of COVID-19 and I will be getting married to her very shortly in the great state of Wisconsin. I am nervous as heck in addition to being excited, worried about where my career will go, how I will be as a husband and future father and how my dog will get along with her two lovely cats.

It is a new frontier but one I am stepping into with a strong sense of character and compassion shaped by my time in the Tri-Region.

Working here has been one of the highlights of my professional life. When I was younger and probably due to being from a small town with an ugly side to it reminiscent of something Stephen King would create, I ended up not being a fan of Canada. Honestly this is the straight reality which I lived for a while. During my time in the United States for school I would often boast about never returning, said I would rather face my death than do so and shocked many of my American peers with my caustic perception of a nation which many would kill to get to.

Being here and collaborating with the people who I did helped to turn this view around.

Laughing, stressing and debating with Josh Thomas, Josh Aldrich, John K. White, our intern Derrick Ferry and Kristine Jean was incredible. All are wonderful human beings who pushed me to be a better man and work in a field which is stressful and can sometimes bring out the worst in someone. They certainly saw this in me at times but I never did from them and will miss them and their personalities and quirks terribly.

The same can be said of our support staff who are some of the finest women to have ever graced my life. Lord knows I could write a separate article about them and probably one or two on my current and cool housemates.

This also goes double for Josh Thomas. I have met his partner, their kids and love him like a brother or at least a charming and hairy cousin. He is the Obama to my Biden, the Axl Rose to my Slash, the Luigi to my Mario and let’s be real the Abdul Rashid Dostum to my Ahmad Shah Massoud. Of those last two one is famous for running a disloyal soldier over with a tank but I will leave it to all of you to guess which one.

Then there are the subjects of work who still linger in my mind today.

Cory Kaminsky and his wife Alanna Sinclair were willing to share their struggle with healthcare by sitting down with me and I won my first professional recognition for what I wrote about their attempt to raise money for cancer treatment in the United States. I wish you both well and when you overcome your illness Cory take the license to play the theme from The Terminator when in public and change your middle name to dragon or the actual word chill. You truly deserve to when you overcome such a rotten disease and raft of horrible bureaucracy.

To Genesis Lamboson who I wrote about as he worked to win a major singing and songwriting competition in Edmonton, you are an exemplary musician and the tip-top example of what people in entertainment should strive to be. I think you will go as far as you want in the future and it was a true pleasure to see you do what you love at the early stages of what stands to be a long time in music. Never give up.

There are so many others who have stayed with me long after their tales have been told, an abundance of public servants of all ideologies who have refreshingly not shied away from challenging questions while simultaneously not being insane like so many are these days and of course I save the last of my love for Postmedia Network Canada Corp. That may sound like an unusual thing to say, but I can never thank this company enough for giving me a chance. There was always room to experiment and the higher-ups never shied away from answering an email and admittedly some of the ones I sent were occasionally a little bit goofy and probably annoying.

Goodbye. It has been tough, amazing, stressful, slow, fast and delightful all at once and I would not change a moment of the wild ride.

To throw in one last patented eccentric line, the title of this piece is a movie reference and my wedding gift registry IS available online. I am doing a silly there to be sure, but hey, this is the last piece I will do for the foreseeable future so I figured I would be bold and kooky!

evan.pretzer@yahoo.com

twitter.com/EvanJPretzer