Two years ago on Black Friday, I wandered Centre Square in the freezing dark, handing out Patch magnets and pens with numb fingers.
We had launched the site two days earlier, and I thought the Peace Candle lighting would be the perfect place to introduce myself to the city.
No, that's not exactly right. Somewhere in my brain, there was part of me -- one that was probably lounging in a hammock -- that thought everyone who took my business card would magically become a loyal reader.
I might as well have been handing out Bibles outside a strip club.
Because that's just not the way this works.
Getting loyal readers meant time. It meant showing up at places, again and again. It meant making contacts in the community, meeting people, and writing about them.
In other words, it meant work.
Fastforward to this weekend. I went back to the Peace Candle lighting Friday night. It was much warmer, both in terms of the weather and the reception I got. Everywhere I turned, I ran into someone I knew. Same goes for the indoor Farmers' Market Saturday ("The Patch guy!" someone from the Nurture Nature Center when I walked in).
They were all people I've met and, in most cases, written about.
But of course, I didn't just write about them. I had help.
So thank you to our freelancers past and present: Joe Frinzi, Bill Broun, Jack Tobias, Christina Georgiou, Adam Atkinson, Ed Koskey, Tara Connolly, Katja Kruppe, Harley Rismiller and Larissa Jimmy.
Thank you as well to bloggers Andy Novick, Pamela Porter, Drew Stefancin, Jonathan Gerard, Mary Ann Horvath and Ellen Heath.
I need to thank my fellow editors, who are there to help and remind me that I'm not doing this from an island.
And of course, all my readers. Thank you for coming back these past two years.