Whatta ride 2016 has been. We spent a lot of time in prayer before the elections, and praise God they’re finally done. We avoided turning STM into a political jostling grounds, but without much ado here, our passions ran deep. Like most of the people who still associate with us, we are optimistic regarding the future of our country and for the future this novel publishing business we’ve been nursing along now for five years.
Tomorrow or the next day, or the next day the second issue of STM “Ozark Edition” goes out. The reception of its launch in November was positive beyond our wildest expectations. The title is yet not where we want it, but with Ragan Whitlock at the helm as editor, it soon will be. Talk about bright; this young firebrand reminds of how bright and energetic I wish I could have been in the old days. My squandered youth preceded the “trout bum” era. Folks probably called us “trout hippies.” I like the term trout bums better, much more than trout hobos, hippie or tramps.
January 15th we launch North American Bear Hunter, our first magazine for a national audience. Bill Vaznis, a Yankee (NY) is running it. He’s enlisted an impressive stable writers including Ted Nugent and Bob Foulkrod. Unknown to most here, most of my publishing background is in hunting. It’s nice to be back on familiar ground, although I am not mad enough these days at anything to work hard to kill it.
March 1st we launch Southern Saltwater Fly Fishing. Familiar face, Jimmy Jacobs (i.e. the Godfather of Georgia Fly Fishing) is at the helm. The magazine he is creating is a top drawer fly fishing lifestyle, destination heavy title that will not only cover coastal waters from the Chesapeake to Galveston, but also the Caribbean and Central America. It will give us three fly fishing titles which we hope to parlay into an attractive advertising vehicle.
February 3td we’ll all be in Atlanta at the Fly Fishing Show. It’s the first time the Furmisky family will bring this huge event to the Deep South. It’s special for us as it will be the site of the inaugural induction ceremony for the ST “Legends of the Fly” Hall of Fame. Online voting ended last week, and I have contacted the inductees. We were not sure how this project would go, but I can say that words cannot adequately express how humbling it was when I was told by the inductees that not only would they be there, but that they would also be there with their families. We didn’t see that coming.
Personal changes in 2016 include kidney failure in March, since which time I have been on a 4-times a week dialysis regiment. Before you go “oh sh…” please know that it is best thing that’s happened to me since experiencing a grand restoration from the Lord above. The doctors drained the swamp here, removing 70 pounds of toxic whatever-it-is. I haven’t felt so good, vibrant and full of energy in ten years. Dialysis has been a tremendous blessing, although I am looking around for kidney donor—hint-hint.
As much as I enjoy taking credit for what little success we’ve had, anyone that is around us for more than a minute knows that Mrs. Kirk is not only the brains behind it all, but she is also the one that does a lot of the work. Consider this, Leah is an 11th grade English teacher (in Alabama proper English is more or less a second language). She designs all of our magazines, and often builds the ads found in them. She operates our home dialysis machine (Sidney the Kidney), and does all of the bookkeeping and taxes. She has even convinced me to drop my objects to the 19th Amendment (a compromise deal worked out to get her to stop referring to me in public as her ‘ignorant hillbilly’).
What little bit I know about plans for the final two quarters of 2018 lead me to believe Mrs. Kirk will either need to be cloned, or I will have to also reconsider my position on polygamy, which is very unlikely. 2016 was an exciting ride. We’re strapped in for what looks like a faced paced, productive 2017.