I said my goodbyes to Charlie Trentelman, also known as The Wasatch Rambler at the Standard-Examiner, and he assured me in person and in print that he'd still be around.
I was good with that.
But I wasn't prepared for how I'd feel going into the Standard-Examiner offices this week to find his Rolodex gone.
I'll miss that tool.
Charlie didn't ever even have to be present to help me. I always had his 35 years of experience at my fingertips.
I work the night police beat on Sunday and Monday nights. It's not quite often enough for me to get truly comfortable with that role.
But the Rolodex knew how to help.
There would be that once a year fire on a mountain range and I'd need the cell phone number of the woman in charge.
We would want to find that little-known non-profit agency that didn't have a website.
And then, we'd want to know the direct line of someone somewhere else who I hadn't yet had the opportunity to meet and whose business answered the phone with a computer I didn't know how to get around.
In there. In there. In there.
Charlie said not to worry. We have his cell phone number, after all. He's just a phone call away.
I hope he answers.
Because now, he'll know exactly how much I've relied on him all along. No doubt, he'll still have his finger on the pulse of the community.
Only probably more so.
Because now, he'll be more of a part of the community -- a mover and shaker from the other side of the fence so to speak.
But he'll have tools.
He'll have 35 years of knowing exactly who will help with which project and how to find those people for real.
And I'll have the Internet.
Ah, the Internet. I love the world wide web! It can spell all the words I forgot to learn in the third grade when I had my mind on something other than preparing for the future.
The Internet is so fast.
Zip. Zip. And you have your answer, if it's there. But so many times Google doesn't even know what it doesn't know.
Like phone numbers.
Charlie told me that when he started reporting at the Standard-Examiner so long ago that our publisher was 2-years-old, everyone was in the phone book.
You could find them.
Charlie said everyone everywhere had an address and a phone and you just had to know how to spell their name (or who their husband or dad was) to find them.
Not so today.
Today, Charlie said, so many people are hiding just below the radar screen on their "cell" phones that keep the rest of the world locked away from them.
They've got privacy, he said.
But Charlie said he recalls a day when nobody seemed to worry about privacy. Having you find them was the least of their worries.
Today, there's no cell phone directory.
That's why there's no replacement to Charlie's Rolodex. Okay, well, maybe Charlie himself on the other end of the phone.