Welcome and thanks for tagging along

If you’re reading this column today for the first time, either on purpose or accidentally, hello, you newbie, you.

Welcome and don’t be frightened, grasshopper.

If you read the printed word here in this space with casual interest on a hit-and-miss basis, either on your own initiative or at the suggestion of someone you know who might recommend on some Sunday or another that, “Hey, you otta’ read this,” to you I say “Thank you.”

And if you’re a faithful, never-miss Sunday reader who’s been with me through thick and thin, happiness and sorrow, seriousness and silliness, marriage and parenting, diets and disasters, dry spells and monsoons, life and death and everything else in between, bless your pea-pickin’ heart.

You really are troopers and for you I am especially grateful as I am for all readers of this held-in-your-hand version of the daily news or our online followers.

I’m surprised at how long this has been going on, this sharing of me stuff that’s very one-sided until I get some feedback that much of what shows up here in this space is something you can relate to, too.

You’ve been there, done that, felt that way, laughed, cried, wondered if I had some window into your life or was a fly on the wall in your house, etc., etc.

How about that?

It’s always a sweet experience in the grocery store, for example, to have someone wheel a buggy by me, then stop and wonder aloud, “Are you Janice from the paper?”

An exchange of pleasantries usually follows, and I feel I’ve made a connection. A special connection. I’ve made a new old friend, so to speak, and I feel pretty good about that. Quite blessed, actually.

I don’t float up on the clouds too long over such encounters, however, considering Better Half is the silver bullet, and I’m the vampire in this case.

Yes, he’s my inspiration and support system, for sure, but he likes to keep me grounded in a style uniquely his own.

On a grocery store outing where someone has stopped to pay me a compliment, for example, he jokingly, mockingly bows down behind me, “the column queen,” first chance he gets when no one else in the store is around, usually in the cereal aisle when we’re in hot pursuit of the giant size boxes of Multigrain Cheerios.

He makes me laugh. Hard.

For every gushy avid reader there are two so-so ones who politely acknowledge that they read me. Sometimes. A pregnant pause follows. OK.

I understand it’s a commitment. I know sometimes I buy a 5-pound bag of potatoes instead of 10 because I can’t think of that many different ways to fix spuds. I’m OK with that.

Anyway, I bring all this up because our son Adam turned 25 this past week, and it got me to thinking about time and its passage and all.

That makes me an older mother and an even older columnist. In either case, I stake no claim to maturity or adulthood, there being no future in either.

But I am ever so glad you’re here with me today.

Thanks for tagging along.

(Kiaski, a resident of Steubenville, is a staff columnist and features writer for the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times and community editor for the Herald-Star. She can be contacted at jkiaski@heraldstaronline.com.)