When I exited The Punxsutawney Spirit building following an interview for the vacant sports writer job in October 2006, I climbed into my car and flipped on my iPod as I began my 2 1/2-hour drive back to my hometown of Erie.
The iPod, which was set on shuffle at that particular moment, began to play "Dawn of a New Day," a song by my favorite band, In Flames.
Already feeling good about how well the interview went, the random appearance of this song made it clear to me: I got the job.
Fast-forward to nearly five years later, and the next step of my life is a week away from starting.
Good-byes are never easy, but this will serve as my final Walk Talk, as I recently accepted a position at The Meadville Tribune.
It has been an interesting 4 1/2-years. A number of years that I won't soon forget.
By covering every sport the town has to offer by myself, I was constantly kept on my toes, whether I had to keep an eye on numerous teams in the fall, wrestling and basketball in the winter, track and field, softball and baseball in the spring, or even more baseball and softball in the summer.
As I (hopefully) move on to bigger publications in my career, the feel of a local, one-town setting will dissipate, which will make for even fonder memories of my time here. Everyone knows everyone in this town, and that leads to a comfortable, heart-warming life.
Many events in particular stand out for me, especially June 2007. Devin Mesoraco was drafted in the first round by the Reds, and the Chucks won their first-ever state baseball title.
I only hope that I justly portrayed and covered such monumental sporting events for this town.
Everyone has treated me with such grace and kindness, and that's something I'll remember for a long time.
We all work to get paid, but I quickly realized that I was working for more than just a paycheck for this job. I was working for Punxsutawney and all of its inhabitants.
I hope my stories made you laugh, cry and smile. Even if you displayed one of those emotions after reading a story or headline of mine, or looking at one of my photographs, then I feel as if it is a mission accomplished.
Even if I am working somewhere else on a day-to-day basis, Punxsutawney won't be far away in my mind.
I'll keep an eye on what's on the horizon, whether it be Mesoraco's promotion to the majors, Nick Gillung's progression through the minors or the bright future of Punxsy's varsity girls' basketball team with an influx of talented freshmen coming through — just to name a few.
It's a dawn of a new day for me, and all I am is thankful to all of you readers for giving me a chance to cover your athletic lives.