From the Editor

Tides of Change Stir Mixed Emotions

By Lori Hutzler Eckert, Editor

I love to throw things out. Strange as it may sound, I enjoy the process of sorting through and purging just about anything, from my sock drawer to my work files.

My husband, Richard, on the other hand, is resistant to this practice, causing more than one heated discussion in our four-year marriage.

Shortly after we got married, we bought our house in Miramar Beach. I set out to unpack the boxes, some holding my 38 years of possessions and some containing his 40 years of, well, just about everything imaginable, including faded and torn Aerosmith concert T-shirts, an enormous collection of blank Christmas cards with no envelopes, and enough baseball caps to outfit every fan in Yankee Stadium.

Among the most difficult challenges of getting married, I quickly learned, is simply the intermingling of stuff. His stuff plus my stuff equaled a mountain of stuff that proved too much for one house to hold.

Honestly, it all started with a hamburger-patty maker. That’s right. There actually is such a thing, and my new husband was the proud owner of such a masterpiece of culinary-equipment engineering. This no-tech device is a white plastic accordion-style tube into which you stuff raw hamburger meat – and at the end of the messy process, you supposedly have half a dozen uniform patties.

Richard and I dated for three years before we married, and not once did I see evidence of this odd kitchen tool. So, as I unpacked plates, bowls and glasses, I tossed the patty maker aside, into the pile of items intended for donation. It was a misstep by a new wife, to be sure.

Somehow, this little piece of plastic became the line in the sand, at least as far as sorting stuff was concerned. Who knew, right? Richard – who, I might point out, possesses an amazing array of positive qualities, disorganization aside – insisted he needed his hamburger-patty maker, and I insisted he did not. (In the interest of full disclosure, and considering that my husband may read this column and call me out, I have to make a confession: I do not eat hamburgers, so maybe the perceived value of a hamburger-patty maker was lost on me.)

For quite some time, the item would inexplicably appear in the kitchen cabinet, only to mysteriously make its way back to the donation bin in the garage – no discussion needed.

At any rate, the lesson in the whole Patty-Makergate scandal was that changes based in choice, big or small, happen in our own time – not anyone else’s. Richard finally decided that he no longer wanted this vexing kitchen tool, and we amicably passed it on. (I thought we should give it as a wedding gift, but he stopped me.)

In most cases, as we all know, change is inevitable. Sometimes it brings pleasure, sometimes it is even painful, and on occasion, it is a mixture of both. And that is exactly where I find myself at this very moment as I write this Editor’s Letter, my last for Emerald Coast Magazine.

As I grapple with the push and pull of feelings that the decision of leaving the editor’s post has pushed to the front of my mind, the excitement about new ventures to come is tempered with the realization of all I am leaving behind.

I have truly enjoyed the opportunity to be a part of this publication. When I relocated to the area, this magazine was my first portal into the community. Through it, I found a true appreciation for my new hometown and created many lasting relationships.

Serving as editor has not been just a job for me. It has been an honor to be able to, in part, create a magazine that so many people have warmly welcomed into their homes. I thank you for your feedback – the praise and the pointers for improvement – and for accepting me, a newcomer, into this community with open arms.

And it has been nothing short of an amazing opportunity to work with the team at Rowland Publishing Inc., a group of top-notch professionals who raised the artistic bar for me with every story we published. I thank you all for your support, your guidance and your greatly valued talents.

Looking forward, it will be a pleasure to see Emerald Coast Magazine grow and change. I can’t wait for the next issue to show up in my mailbox and to read each new story. But in the meantime, you’ll find me in our garage, trying to get a couple of 4-foot-tall, 1983 stereo speakers into the donation bin.

Some things never change.