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LOOSELEAF LAUREATE: Joe goes – to shores of mighty Mississippi

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By Terri Likens, Editor

My friend Joe was on the road for Thanksgiving.

His mother died this spring, and his father died some years back, so he wasn’t spending the holiday with family.

Instead, he headed to Memphis. Next month, he will be starting a new life as a fundraiser for a downtown hospital that sorely needs his skills.

I have mixed feelings about this.

Joe, who has been living in Knoxville, is one of my oldest, dearest friends. We went to college together, although we didn’t know each other then.

However, 30 years ago, we started working at my first newspaper just a week apart and have been fast friends since.

I consider Joe a brother.

He was unexpectedly let go from his job in Knoxville this summer. It came as a blow, but in hindsight, it may have been a blessing in disguise. The job in Memphis is a better position with more pay — and he thinks the staff is a better fit.

I’m happy for Joe; I just hate that he is moving nearly six hours away.

We had hoped he could find a decent job in Knoxville or Chattanooga — the city of his choice — but it wasn’t meant to be.

Things are looking good for Joe, though.

He put his well-tended cottage in North Hills up for sale last week. He got a full-price offer the same day. And Joe — a gregarious Southern gentleman — has admitted that he had withdrawn from people over the past few years. That doesn’t surprise me.

He was dealing with the declining health of his mother and coping in an unfriendly office. Those things take a toll.

Now that he has accepted the job and has an offer on his house, Joe seems to be warming up to the place.

I’m sad, but I’m looking forward to visiting him in the River City. Friendships like ours hold no boundaries.