There comes a time in every enterprise when
you have to end it or change course. That time has arrived for me and
this column. My confinement here at home plus my declining energy and
breath make it a necessity to write a final farewell column. Iíve been
at this endeavor for 17 years and have covered subjects all over the
Your thoughtful comments and questions have been wonderful. You all
have no idea what joy you were bringing me as I go through each day
always working for air. We all take breathing for granted but let me say
that is not necessarily so. In my case it was brought on by damage to a
nerve during a heart bypass procedure. A subsequent lung operation could
not alleviate the problem.
In many cases some of you readers wrote directly to me or in a letter
to the editor. Most all of them were positive which was very gratifying.
In fact none of them were blatantly negative, upset or angry. How often
are columnists treated so well by the readers?
Much of what I wrote relied on my insatiable thirst for history. Even
today in my 80s and even as my reading declines, history is still the
most attractive to me. There is no limit on the twists and turns which
the history of mankind has or will make. Thatís why so many, scholars
and non-scholars, read or write about the activities of the human race
and even animals.
I need to say something about The Freeman, which is the lead paper
that published these weekly columns. They agreed to publish me without
ever changing what I wrote. To their credit they did just that, and Iíve
always appreciated the freedom given me. Usually a newspaperís lawyers
have great unhappiness with such kinds of agreements. Somebody held them
at bay and I suspect it was a combination of the editor and publisher.
They may operate a small circulation paper in national terms, but in my
mind they operate a big, big dedicated news establishment.
I will probably miss this weekly column more than any of you. Someday
in the future, the Conley publishers or someone else may pull together a
book or booklet of articles selected from the almost thousand which were
produced over the years. Actually, I was first approached to write a
political column as a former governor by a leading state newspaper. I
said "no" because politics was not and never has been my
primary interest as it is with former governors such as Pat Lucey or
I wish now that I had saved your many letters and notes for my
grandchildren but it simply didnít occur to me. I will take the time
to be certain they know how I feel about all those who read what I
wrote. My column was literally read all over the country. I know because
I received responses from at least half the states of this country. A
lot of the responders were former Wisconsin residents or related to one.
So I bid you all a fond farewell and a thank you to everyone
(Lee Sherman Dreyfus is a former Wisconsin governor who lives in