I had to laugh the other day when I spotted one of my Advocate columns, clipped and laminated, at the bottom of a “junk drawer” in a friend’s kitchen. I commented that it could always be used as a small place mat.

Actually, she preserved it because it profiles her husband’s home-based business. Someday, it will end up in one of her children’s kitchen junk drawers, and it will bring back a good memory of this time in their family life.

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That has been the wonderful thing about writing a column for a community paper that’s like an unbroken monthly chain letter.

This chain letter doesn’t promise any riches, just a community collage of school events and family milestones; the trophies and losses of local sports teams; the comings and goings of neighborhood businesses.

Just think of all the stories and pictures of Lake Highlands kids that are clipped for posterity and the extra copies that are sent to grandparents.

One part of the chain is the notices and announcements that are slipped under the magnet on the refrigerator. Another link is the business profile or restaurant review that is proudly hung near the cash register.

Years from now, people will get a kick out of running across an article about their track team or scout project. Who knows? Maybe some future celebrity or hero is in one of this month’s stories.

I come from a clan of dedicated newspaper clippers who continuously mail one another articles, editorials and generally unsolicited advice on every subject known to mankind. We write letters to editors and have been on both sides of newspapers; as writer and subject.

It probably started with my great-great grandfather, who helped to keep the presses running at the Chicago Tribune during the Great Chicago Fire in 1871, until the “fireproof” building burned. (I still have the 1912 newspaper clipping about his 95th birthday party honoring him as the oldest living Irishman in America.)

This is a roundabout way of saying this is my last column – at least temporarily – for the Advocate. Meanwhile, during the summer and fall, I will be involved with my husband’s campaign for re-election as Dallas County Judge and finish up the many yard and house projects that have been put on hold during this year’s remodeling.

I’ll still be free-lancing, but not for local publications, and I have pledged to finish some long-standing research for a book project. Somehow, it will all be worked in amid the shuffling of children to swimming and tennis lessons, camp and numerous outings for Sno-Cones in the summer heat.

It’s been great fun writing about the people and events in Lake Highlands. There are so many stories to tell, and I hope, as readers, you will continue to share your ideas with the staff at the Advocate.

Because in the end, it is your voice that counts.

And this chain letter is the best way possible for our community to stay on top of local issues, promote neighborhood events and create a lasting record of pride in our many achievements.