The end

October 29, 2021


Like all good stories, everything in life has a beginning, middle and end, so I’ve decided it’s time to end my weekly newspaper column. It has been a wonderful experience and I’ve learned about an industry I never really planned on joining. The people I’ve met have been fascinating leaders in journalism. They've ushered in new strategies for providing us with information during a time when printed papers are moving towards a digital format.  

I’ve been writing a weekly column for almost 10 years, first in the Gulf Coast Newspapers and then with Alabama Media Group for the Mobile, Birmingham and Huntsville papers. From time to time, I've also appeared in the Syracuse and Grand Rapids papers. It’s been a labor of love and fascination with storytelling and connecting with the people of Alabama and beyond that I will always treasure.  

My story, "Dianne Bentley is a class act" was one of the most shared (non-sports) stories of the entire year on social media. 

My readers have made the experience rewarding, and I truly value each and every one of you. Your emails, online comments and even a few old-fashioned snail-mail letters have been encouraging and always made me smile. Even the grumpy comments were welcome and made me think of all the different opinions we have. (then I gave you a big, “bless his heart” of course!)

My very first column with had my photo close to Harper Lee's. How exciting for a rookie! 

The biggest news I have isn’t that the column is coming to an end, but rather, as good tales go . . . there will be a sequel, one that is sure to involve just as much adventure. I have new opportunities for writing, and I’m already feeling a giant rush of creativity by not being locked down to a weekly schedule.

I've already used my extra free time to begin Ukelele lessons with a group in town. This is my instructor Carl.

My husband Bob, who has been my main encourager and inspiration (“just write about the last time I made you mad, people always love that.”), and I are celebrating this new plot twist by taking a driving trip from Alabama to Las Vegas! If you’ll remember from years past, we have a convention to attend every year, and this year, we were so tired of sitting home with COVID restrictions, we thought it would be fun to drive. I’m writing to you from the road now as I look out on the dry, windy landscape of cows, cotton and windmills in Texas. Roy Rogers is playing, and after we enjoy a big cowboy BBQ lunch in Amarillo, we’ll continue the adventure — as I hope you’ll continue this adventure along with me. 

I hope you stay connected through this blog for big announcements coming soon. Be sure to enter your email address to receive updates when I send out a newsletter every now and then. You can also click the icons at the top of the page to follow me on Instagram (road trip photos coming soon) or Facebook.  And thank you all for your encouragement and support as I have found my joy in writing for you.

  • I am sorry I am so late reading this! I haven’t been getting notices when you post, but I did know from Instagram you were traveling and in Vegas. I know you have had a ton of fun experiences during your travels…I’m so glad you are going to keep your blog so we can all keep up with you! I look forward to hearing what’s next!

    • Leslie Anne Tarabella says:

      Thank you so much Jenna. I’m glad you’re following on Instagram. I post there far more than Facebook these days. Stay tuned!

  • Hey, good luck in your new writerly pursuit! Meantime, we’re going to miss you, and your pearls, tonight at the “Taste of LA” at the Piggly Wiggly.

    • Leslie Anne Tarabella says:

      Thanks Alan. And . . . I know! It would have been so much fun! The biggest party of the year is always at The Pig! Have fun.

  • Tom McLaughlin says:

    Always enjoy your columns, Leslie Anne. Also enjoyed meeting you on the porch of the restaurant in downtown Fairhope. Please continue to tell your stories and advise us of your peregrinations. Tom McLaughlin

    • Leslie Anne Tarabella says:

      Thanks Tom!

  • I am excited for your new adventures and I know you will be amazing as always. I love a good road trip and yours sounds wonderful. Safe travels!

    • Leslie Anne Tarabella says:

      Thank you Pam!

  • I applaud you for knowing when it is time to do something different. I marveled at how you came up with such interesting, clever, writings each and every week. It is time for projects, not deadlines. I know you will succeed at anything you or Bob ever begin. Enjoy new adventures.

    • Leslie Anne Tarabella says:

      Savan, you are the best! Thank you so much for being an encouragement to me all these years. Grab life while you can, right? You, my traveling friend know that well!

  • Roxanne Bernard says:

    I will be looking forward to all the new adventures in your life! It has been such a joy to read all your great columns and the books, and especially find a new Phi Mu sister!!! Happy and safe travels.

    • Leslie Anne Tarabella says:

      Oh Roxanne! One of my dearest readers I’ve never met in person! Thank you so much for all the support over the years, and don’t give up . . . we’ll be sure to meet one of these days!

      • Leslie Anne Tarabella says:

        Oh, and about today’s Clemson game . . . humph!

  • Linda Chupek says:

    So glad you’re still going to continue with your talent. You are like the modern Erma Bombeck…always making us chuckle & always putting a smile on our face. When is the big day coming up for the wedding? Enjoy your trip to Vegas, I’m SURE there will be a story or two of the things you’ll see & do.

    • Leslie Anne Tarabella says:

      Hi Linda. The wedding is coming up this winter, and I’ll be sure to share it on the blog. Thanks for the kind words. Vegas awaits!

  • I will miss your short stories.

    • Leslie Anne Tarabella says:

      Thanks, but once you start putting your thoughts into written word it’s hard to stop. The stories will surely keep coming in one form or the other. – all the best to you!

  • Wishing you all the best on this new adventure. Have fun in Vegas!!

    • Leslie Anne Tarabella says:

      Thank you Hope. You were with me from the beginning of the blog days and how your business has grown! We’re in Albuquerque today and a hot air balloon flew right past our hotel window. It’s a fun trip so far!

  • Marcus Smith says:

    It has been fun and inspirational.Than you for the smiles and laughs you have given me.

    • Leslie Anne Tarabella says:

      My pleasure Marcus! And now I’ll have a little more time to visit you every now and then if you can stand it!

  • Many blessings to you. Looking forward to new happenings from you.

    • Leslie Anne Tarabella says:

      Thank you Patricia. Change is exciting, but a little be frightening as well.

        • Leslie Anne Tarabella says:

          Thanks for all your support and great comments over the years!

  • Karen Jaye says:

    So excited for you cousin! Look forward to your stories

    • Leslie Anne Tarabella says:

      Thank you very much my dear. things that are scary are sometimes just the thing we need. Love to you and your Bob!

  • Excited for you! Glad you will continue the blog; it’s where I read your articles/columns.

    And welcome to Texas, even tho you are only driving through! On your return drive back, may I suggest making your way through the central pat of the state, down to San Antonio and over to Houston on I-10? So much neat stuff to see, so much good food to eat! I’ll gladly point you in the right direction for the best TexMex in Houston. And, hopefully we will be celebrating a World Series victory, too!

  • Arlene Cocke says:

    We have found joy in knowing you and reading your Sunday treat!

    • Leslie Anne Tarabella says:

      Oh, thank you Arlene! It’s been my total and unexpected passion!

  • Nancy Maners says:

    Sweet friend, I will miss the opportunity of staying connected with you but can’t wait to see what is ahead. Hope to be down your way soon.

    • Leslie Anne Tarabella says:

      Do let me know when you are here. I’ll still be around on the blog, so check in every now and then!

  • Can’t wait Leslie Anne

    • Leslie Anne Tarabella says:

      Thanks.Crossing my fingers for sure!

  • Say it’s not so! I was not at work due to illness and spent the afternoon on my tablet and started reading your back articles. I was reading about Lois lane leaving her mommy and your young son crying when I stopped for a bit. When l came back, I discovered the news. I bought a Birmingham news when they could still be found for your article and the sports section. The same reason I buy a Southern Living, to read Rick Bragg. And was thinking to myself why oh why had I not bought a can of Sea Glass and painted something that lovely color of the Gulf? I will miss your take on life in the South and was so looking forward to following the wedding of Harrison and his girl. God bless you!

    • Leslie Anne Tarabella says:

      Anne, thank you so much for this comment. I think it’s the first time I’ve ever heard from you, but I’m so glad you found me! It’s not the end of the blog — I couldn’t leave my dear readers hanging with no wedding news! Keep up with me here, and I’ll let you know what’s next. Thank you so much for the kindness, and God bless you as well.

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