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Commentary: Chris Epting recounts top moments from 8 years of columns

Though you may have read that last week was my final In the Pipeline column, I would like to thank the Huntington Beach Independent for allowing me a farewell.

I was taught early on that all good things come to an end, and the column certainly was a good thing. For nearly 500 weeks I had the privilege and good fortune to be able to share with you stories that I hoped you would find interesting.

Through our journey together we got to meet so many wonderful people and learn so much about the city. Naturally, certain episodes stand out when I sit and let my mind drift back over the eight years or so since I began writing the column.

I remember when we dedicated a plaque to Robin Samsoe last year at the Huntington Beach Pier. That was such a remarkable day. In the midst of a heated political season, everybody put down their swords and came together in one of the most beautiful shows of love I think I’ll ever see in the city.

I think about all the veterans I got to meet.

I think of the time I spent with parents who had lost their children, among them Christopher Hernandez, Dane Williams, Kelly “Blue” Morehouse, Danny “the Dinosaur” Oates and Jimmy “the Rev” Sullivan. Just typing their names brings tears to my eyes.

I think of the businesses I had the chance to write about, such as Calvin Free’s remarkable Beef Palace and Alice’s Breakfast in the Park. Remember the fun we had working to get Alice an extra two years in business?

There are just too many memories.

A couple of years ago, when the Air Quality Management District came calling in an effort to quickly and quietly outlaw our fire pits, we stood up to it. And we won. That battle will no doubt continue, and I promise to keep an eye on it and never give up that fight.

What I most looked forward to on Thursday mornings when the paper was delivered was the note from my mom, who always had something good to say after she read it.

I think it’s important for newspapers, especially local papers, to employ people with strong points of view, serious voices and a determination to keep an eye on the city. I hope the paper continues the tradition.

By no means will I stop writing about the place I love. In fact, I’ll be writing more than ever now, and you can follow me at surfcitychronicles.com, where I will be posting new stories every week.

In the meantime, thank you to all the editors I have worked with over the years and other staff members who have always been there for me when I needed them. The Huntington Beach Independent represents a fine group of hard-working people who also truly care about this community.

I don’t believe in goodbyes, so I’ll just say, “See you later.” Please join me for the rest of this local journey. I promise you, we still have many incredible stories to experience. Thank you.

In closing, I wanted to include a poem I wrote in one of my columns. It was the day Alice Gustafson and I had lunch for the last time at her restaurant. Within hours the place would go dark and that would be it. My son and our dear friend Richard Reinbolt spent a wonderful couple of hours with Alice that afternoon, and when I got home I felt like writing something about it:

The sun it sets

along the line

that measures life;

my own and thine

can celebrate

what just has been

a lovely day,

and in the wind

we bid farewell

to youthful dreams;

old promises

pull at the seams

of fragile hearts

that race at night

until the dawn,

when rosy light

resets the line

with calm and grace;

new fields to roam,

new dreams to chase.

CHRIS EPTING of Huntington Beach is the former writer of the In the Pipeline column for the Huntington Beach Independent.


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