You never know until you try. All it takes is one step, then another.

Lesson learned from Jim Marine.

The first drum major in Halls history, Jim earned degrees at UT and Columbia and spent his life in academia. He retired from Ball State University in Indiana. David Letterman and the late Western actor Andy Devine are the school’s most famous alums.

Jim and wife Judy spend summers in Maine and winters in Florida. They volunteer at food kitchens and churches and places of peace Down East and down South. Jim is one of my heroes.

They were in Halls last weekend for the school’s centennial celebration and annual alumni dinner. Former principal Roy Mullins gave the centennial speech.

I guess I should introduce myself to those who may not know me. The last name doesn’t rhyme with “maybe.” No maybe about it.

I went to work for Sandra Clark as a college student in 1998. I didn’t want to get a real job, so I kept hounding her until she hired me after I graduated summa cum laude from UT in 2000. I stayed at her old paper full time for 14 years until surgical nerve damage sidelined me with daily, debilitating migraines and other issues. After a passel of procedures, I’m fighting to get back to 100 percent.

Meantime, you’ll see me here about once a week.

I’m a Halls native, Halls grad, Halls homer. I knew I’d made it when Sandra referred to me as “Halls guy Jake” (now my Twitter handle) in a column. I like to listen to and tell about your friends and neighbors and what’s going on at the school and down the street.

Look for those stories here as I get better.

And who knows what else? The medium has changed in 19 years. Time was I could stretch it in the summer and write about Elvis, bluegrass and baseball. Sandra finally told me to get a blog. You can find it at http://jakemabe.blogspot.com. I hope to get it running again as my health improves.

I’m also writing the history of Halls, commissioned by the Halls Women’s League. Like everything else, that project has been put on hold with illness, but my prayer is to get healthy enough to finish it this year. And I’ve got a novel in the noggin and perhaps a podcast. We’ll see.

Longtime readers of the old newspaper will be quite familiar with what you’ll see. Like the Possum sang, “I’m still the same ol’ me.” The bonus for you is you don’t have to worry about getting ink on your fingers or hauling back issues to the dump.

You’ll hopefully be seeing me more and more as my health improves. Shoot me an email if you’ve got a story, or wanna say hi, or tell me to drop dead, whatever, to jakemabe1@gmail.com.

Like Jim Marine’s amazing career, and every windmill that’s ever been tilted, you never know until you try.

All it takes is one step, then another.

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Written by Jake Mabe
Halls jakemabe1@gmail.com 865-310-5525