Her name was Vanessa.
You can blame her for Tee Time.
My wife Kathy and I were students at Kansas State University. Kathy was pursuing her degree in education. I was a journalism student at K-State, as was Vanessa.
It was in the ‘70s. Apple computers hit the market that year. Chucky Williams and Mike Evans led the Wildcats to a 20-8 record in basketball that season.
And Vanessa was all about women’s lib.
To Vanessa, it wasn’t just about the equality of women. To her, there was nothing a man could do that a woman could not do, and women could probably do it better.
“Tim, can you help me open this window?” she said to me one day.
“What did you say?!” was my reaction.
Her request sparked my first column.
I was a sophomore and, traditionally, before you could write for the student newspaper The Collegian, you had to have at least junior status.
Yes, I am bragging. I’m pretty proud of that.
My column “Let’s hear it for men’s lib” was the first one I got published.
That was followed up with “Getting around campus.”
That was a column about an R2D2-type robot trying to go to class back in the 1970s long before the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed in 1990. I actually tried to get around campus in a wheelchair for research for that piece.
At one of the buildings on campus, the fire escape was a rope with knots in it. Yes! A rope!
My first column was called Horan’s Horizons.
One of my favorites columns was about my two week sugar-free diet.
Remember, this was the ‘70s.
The only sugar-free pop was Tab.
Show of hands. Who remembers Tab?
And I cheated.
There was absolutely no way I could survive without sugar. I had to accept fructose, a fruit sugar, in my diet.
I continued to pen these stories throughout college, even during the summer months.
Then I graduated and took a job in Baxter Springs and found myself covering sports, something I had never done. Not even in high school.
At some point, Horan’s Horizons became Tee Time.
Working for the National Greyhound Association for 25 years as the editor of The Review, those columns were published monthly. Returning to the RC in 2010, Tee Time was revived.
I paused my column for a few months and then got started back up when the Kansas Legislature didn’t finish the 2015 session until June and prompted my thoughts.
I published a list of 10 reasons why journalists should be elected to the Legislature.
No. 1: they meet deadlines.
Today it all comes to an end. This is my last Tee Time.
Yes, there may have been a tear in my eye.
However, I am working on a short book I’ve called “Life Around the Tee Box” which is a collection of my columns. including “Let’s hear it for men’s lib” and “Getting around campus.”
So, I am grateful to Vanessa. And thank you all for your support over the years and for looking for some humor in this space in the Thursday editions. I truly appreciate you all. But now it’s time for me to set up a real tee time.