My first writing position was with the Randolph Reporter, which evolved when a house fire delivered its editor to my doorstep. No joke. Barricaded roads literally halted her commute to work while fireman doused the flames.

"Are you a writer?" asked the pretty brunette standing beside me as a fireman emerged from the wreckage cradling my charred Smith Corona typewriter.

All I knew was how much I loved to write, tell stories and question everything.

Once the last fire truck groaned away, Patty invited me to her office. My secret writing life was over. Before long I received my first official assignment along with her steady guidance and thoughtful nurturing throughout that year.

It’s been decades since the fire but I still reflect on that day with gratitude. From the gift of being born a writer, to the myriad of opportunities and fortune that continue. Writing indulges my insatiable curiosity and unapologetic enthusiasm for amazing places and extraordinary human beings — famous and obscure, local and far away, which leaves me inspired, uplifted, full.

Patty and I lost touch after I graduated college though, if you’re reading this, please call me. I owe you a debt that cannot be repaid but one that deserves the attempt.