‘So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, adieu!’

Published 10:32 am Saturday, August 22, 2015

Whenever it comes time to say goodbye to someone, my first instinct is to burst out singing “So Long, Farewell” from “The Sound of Music.”

It must be because I had to watch the movie for my music class at least once — if not twice — every year that I was a student at Capron Elementary School, and at least twice more when I was at the middle school.

With my next semester of college rapidly approaching, I’ve been preparing myself to say goodbye not only to an incredibly enjoyable summer job, but also to my family and my hometown as I prepare to pack up and settle back into fast-paced Washington, D.C.

Unlike a few members of my family, I’m not for melodramatic goodbyes.

I’d prefer to just slip away unnoticed when its time to leave and then make a dramatic entrance when I come back — much more enjoyable than hugging and crying.

Before I slip out though, I’d like to extend a hearty thank you. Hopefully I can manage to do this without sounding like a frazzled celebrity accepting an award on live television.

Thank you to Tony Clark, Cain Madden, Stephen Cowles, Andrew Lind and Rebecca Chappell for putting up with me this summer. Thanks for letting me slide a few articles in after deadline and sorry that I made you break out the red pens so much.

I’d also like to thank everyone who approached me at church, on the street, through email, in Walmart, Dairy Queen or anywhere else to tell me that they were enjoying my writing.

It’s incredibly stereotypical and trite to say, but I truly believe that this summer has given me invaluable experience. And considering that this was my first paying job, something to put on my resume, which was beginning to resemble a ghost town with tumbleweeds blowing through it.

And if I’ve learned anything this summer — apparently, I haven’t learned to not start a sentence with a conjunction — it’s that there is no Muse sitting on your shoulder, no bolt of inspiration. If you’re going to write, you have to put pen to paper and force yourself to do it.

So that’s it. So long. Farewell. I’m slipping out.

Make sure to look out for dramatic re-entrance.

Walter Francis Jr. is a student at American University and is serving as a staff writer for The Tidewater News this summer. Email him at walter.francis@tidewaternews.com.