What to do with a love like this

Published 8:11 pm Thursday, March 8, 2012

If your chairs seemed to have shifted a bit in the last few days or the slant to the floor in your house isn’t quite what it was, I may be responsible for that. There hasn’t been a nearly 400-pound diabetic roaming South Saratoga Street lately. You see, I’ve left the Suffolk News-Herald in a full time capacity.

Since my departure, some have asked me if I intend to write a farewell column. And I have not been able to give them an answer, because you can’t truly leave a place that’s left marks on your very soul and stomach. You simply can’t say goodbye to a place whose people have laughed with you, and at you, on so many occasions.

I can’t say goodbye to a place that offered its comfort by email and phone messages when my mother passed away almost three years ago. And I certainly can’t say goodbye to so many people who’ve taken an interest in my health — through diabetes, dieting, exercise failures, epic battles with my doctor, and now a gluten-free rebirth. Some have even monitored my menu choices at Suffolk restaurants (Thanks again, Molly).


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This isn’t just a relationship we’ve had these fours years, my dear Suffolkians, but a love. And what does one do with a love like that? As an artist, I know one never walks away from love of any kind. So it’s safe to say I haven’t walked away but taken you all with me.

How do I know it’s love you and I have shared, Suffolkians? Because I confessed my love for you in so many words on some many occasions and you’ve responded in kind. I’ve heard it from so many of your own lips, including from a charming lady approached me in Hardee’s last Friday.

“Are you Troy Cooper?” she asked.

“Yes, I am,” I said, as I waited for my low-carb burger. (See, I’m still not cheating.)

“I just love you,” she said after confirming my identity and proceeding to commend me on starting a gluten-free diet.

You just don’t walk away from that, people. So, fret not, my departure from the paper is not a goodbye, but more like “until-we-meet-again.”

As long as there are events like Restaurant Week and Taste of Suffolk, I’ll be around. As long as there are places like Jammin’ Jerk BBQ, L&L Country Meats, Farmer Frank’s Farm Market, and Jeb’s Barbecue, I’ll have cause to pay a visit. And while I submit that my love for Suffolk seems largely food-based, I should say my love for Suffolk goes much deeper.

Thank you Suffolk for laughing, crying, pigging out, and regretting “foodventures” like deep-fried Oreos with me. But we have so much more to do together, my friends. And as the pavement resettles, adjusting to the absence of my wrecking ball-like physique, just know it’s not permanent. I will be around.

So when you feel the ground shake, it’s not necessarily another earthquake, I’m probably just hungry for one of my Suffolk favorites.

And because you said it first, I love you too, Suffolk.