Writing the last chapter on this Grand County experience | SkyHiNews.com

Writing the last chapter on this Grand County experience

Autumn Phillips
Sky-Hi Daily News editor
Grand County, Colorado

When I was in college, I had a business called “Instant Biography.”

I would spend an afternoon with you, listening to your life story. In a few days, you would receive your biography – about 10 pages. Perfect for gifting to grandchildren.

After writing a few biographies, I learned the best way to write about someone’s life story is to see the storyline that runs through it. Otherwise, it’s just a wordy, 10-page resume.

At first glance, life may seem like a random set of decisions made over decades, but there is always a theme, always a motivation. There are heroes and villains – better than fiction.

The hardest biographies to write were of younger or middle-aged people, because there was no bookend, no conclusion.

The best stories were told by the elderly. They were standing at the finish line and they could see the arc of their own life choices.

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I have been thinking about that “storyline” as I stand at the end of yet another chapter – leaving Grand County for an editor’s job in New Braunfels, Texas.

Scenes in my story: I can see myself arriving here on a chilly July day two years ago, interviewing for this job.

I can see myself working late nights in August and September trying to design the new look and hire the right people for the launch of the Sky-Hi Daily News on Oct. 15.

If you show me the front page, I can vividly remember each of the 423 editions of the Sky-Hi Daily News we published during my time as its editor.

It hasn’t always been easy. The economy gave this paper some good gut punches, and I am still a little traumatized by some of the things that happened during the Fraser Rec District recall election.

But I learned a lot about the role of a newspaper and the leadership of its editor during a difficult time.

As I drive over Berthoud Pass one last time next Wednesday morning, I will be crying. And I won’t just be thinking about the time I spent at my desk in the newspaper office.

I met people in Grand County who will be lifelong friends. I met people I will probably never see again but who I will never forget.

I met the love of my life – my soon-to-be husband – while living here. We had our first home together in Fraser.

I’m really going to miss those views of the Continental Divide and Byers Peak, and watching whole weather patterns form and pass by in the huge sky above the Fraser Valley.

In Grand County, I became a better skier, learned to mountain bike and improved my tennis game. Charlie and I have a beat up canoe covered in duct tape that we’ve paddled in most of Grand County’s lakes and reservoirs.

I hiked for miles through incredible scenery and spent many quiet hours sitting by the side of the Fraser River, watching the water flow by.

You’re lucky to live here and I was lucky to find myself here – albeit for only two years.

Thanks for reading this newspaper, for letting me be a part of this community and for teaching me so much about myself.

Stop by the newspaper and say “hello” if you’re ever in New Braunfels, Texas.

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