Twenty years ago this month, I started my journalism career. I’d like to say it was for a noble purpose, like covering the Bush- Gore election, but the real story is that I wanted tickets to a Pearl Jam concert and my friend Chip shared a little life hack about getting into shows for free as a writer for our student newspaper. I dropped by the newsroom and signed on to write about music, got those Pearl Jam tickets and found a career by accident.
For a long time now, I’ve remembered that event with a photo I took at the concert, which sat on the desk in my cubicle for nineteen years and now hangs on the wall of my office. That concert has been on my mind a lot this year, and not just because of the anniversary. The editor who graciously took me on as a writer and assigned that show review, my friend Rob Lucas, passed away over the summer after a long battle with cancer. Rob was an all-around great guy. He used the last years of his too-short life to check items off a sundry bucket list that included getting one of his films accepted to Cannes, where he walked the red carpet. A few weeks ago, I lost another former colleague, my dear friend Shanna Hogan. Shanna died suddenly after hitting her head and drowning in her pool in north Phoenix. Shanna was the only superstar I’ve ever been close with, a best-selling true crime author who nevertheless found time to be generous with her counsel—and good-natured gossip.
I bring all of this up because this issue is dedicated to fall fun—to getting out there and making some memories, despite the strangeness of this time. I’m sure not alone in finding that these odd and unpleasant times have awakened a yearning for things I used to take for granted. For me, that’s going out to concerts, as Rob and I did more times than I can count, or casually dropping by a cafe to sit for an hour and chat with a friend, as Shanna and I did so many afternoons.
Sadly, we can’t offer you normalcy, but we have brought you a list of carefully selected picks for making the most out of this season. Fall in Kansas City is special— that light chill in the air, all those oaks about to burst orange and red. For me, at least, life is too short to let one autumn pass without hikes, pumpkin patches and apple cider doughnuts. I hope that the sixty ideas in our cover package will help you safely enjoy some time with friends and family. Our days are precious, now and always, so get out there and make the best memories you can.