Well the dust is settling here at the Swails international weather station after Tuesday's big announcement. About all I can say regarding the reaction I got is wow! If you ever want to know how people feel about you get fired!
It's kind of like seeing your obituary before you kick the bucket. I've poured over 650 messages of support and concern and they continue to steadily come in. I wish I could take the time to personally respond to you all but it's a daunting task. For that reason, I'm sending out a mass thank you to everyone who took the time to send your sentiments.
One of the things you learn in a situation like mine (after the fact) is just how much you have impacted the lives of others. The finality of a long public life jolts us all. It really mirrors death in that many of you have expressed a sadness that an era has ended. The stories and memories I read through teared me up too many times to count. I had to take the computer to the other room so my family wouldn't see me slobbering all over myself. I just never knew I had touched so many lives in such a positive way. To feel that raw love and emotion made one of my darkest hours a shining moment. You could never know how much your thoughts meant to me and my family. If only I could give a group hug over the internet.
Another thing that stood out to me was how many of you said thanks for a job well done, how I really knew my stuff, and that my passion for doing it right was unparalleled. Since when do weathermen get thanked. Are you kidding me! I'm the one that should be thanking you for letting me into your homes day after day, year after year. (imagine the things I've seen). Seriously, what an honor it has been to serve you the past four decades. Thank you for picking me to put your trust and faith in. To make the cut is quite a privilege.
My other big take-away from your notes is how positive you are about my future. Consistently the message was keep the faith, there are new challenges and better times ahead. I couldn't possibly hang my head with the pervasive hope and belief you've all shown in my ability to weather this storm. The underlying sentiment is one of perspective and the need to face it. I have my health, my family, a huge base of friends, and a little thing called determination.
I'll tell you this, my cup has been overflowing for a very long time. In fact, I'm staring at my cup right now and it still looks full to me. We all know life is not fair, and it's not easy. But as Martin Luther King said, "the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy". Many say the light shows you the way, but without the dark you can never see the stars. Each and every one of you has been a star in my life. We all belong to each other and I hope you know how comforting that is. Thank you for your concern and support. Many blessings and joys to you all.