by Bruce Behymer
Zen of Behymer
I do hereby solemnly swear that the forthcoming account is an unwavering reflection of my memory. However, at my age, that memory is a little dicey.
I started with Kansas Publishing Ventures (KPV), the parent company for Harvey County Now, 12 years ago, selling ads for a little shopper called The Buyer’s Edge. That was a fun time, and it only got better—especially when Joey Young became the owner of KPV. He asked me early on if I wanted to go for a wild ride with him. I was still in my 40s then. I enthusiastically said yes, and it wasn’t long after that we became business partners.
One of the most cockamamie plans Joey and I ever came up with was to grab a case of beer and young Adam Strunk for a strategic getaway on my porch. Adam was only 25 then and still managing editor of The Clarion newspaper. The more time that went by that day, the more beers we knocked back and the more out of control our conversation became. It was on that beer-fueled afternoon of madness that the newspaper you are reading now was born. Three nut jobs on a mission to start a newspaper from scratch in Newton, Kansas. Somehow, some way we made it work, and our circulation eventually grew from 200 to where we are now at 4,000.
Oh, sure, there were bumps in the road and goofs along the way. We laughed and cried together—even screamed at each other from time to time. But I wouldn’t trade any of that piece of my life for the world.
Let me fast forward things to May of this year when St. Laurie and I lost our son, Andrew. That was the most horrific thing I have ever experienced. We’re in October now, and I am still dealing with issues of grief. One thing that I didn’t expect to happen after Andrew passed was to wake up to the fact that it’s OK for me to step back and slow down. And that’s just what I did. I took some time to myself, went on a nice vacation, breathed and spent a lot of time in meditation.
Although I am not anywhere near ready to go out to pasture, I am at a place where I have decided to change my focus, step back and let some things in my life go. Some of those things were easy to leave behind. And some were difficult. One of the toughest things I’m going to step away from is this newspaper. I love this company and paper with all my heart, but I’m just not the young, enthusiastic ad salesman that I once was. And me sticking around isn’t fair to the paper or my team. It’s time. And I’m at peace with this decision.
Before I hit the door and begin my new adventure, let me say thank you to our subscribers—especially those early adopters who took a leap of faith and believed in us. Thank you to my customers who have trusted me to help with their marketing and advertising needs over the years. Thank you to Joey Young for offering me the best damned wildest ride I’ve ever gone on in my life and to Joey’s wife, Lindsey, who is our company’s conscience and voice of reason. Also a big thank you to our staff. We have an incredibly hard-working team, and I am proud of every one of them. And thank you to Adam Strunk, my friend and faithful sidekick. We’ve explored many a back road in this county together, listening to Johnny Cash, telling off-color stories and reminiscing about our days of growing up on a farm.
I know it’s cliché, but that famous quote from Dr. Seuss fits. “Don’t cry because it’s over; smile because it happened.”
And with that, I bid you all adieu. Farewell and God bless, and please keep supporting this paper.