I’ll Let You In On A Secret!

“I’m tired of living day-to-day and hand-to-mouth/This could be the day I finally find my way out”

“I’m gonna climb that mountain high/I’m gonna see what’s on the other side/I’m gonna kiss this town good-bye/I’m gonna climb that mountain”

“How I arrived here, heaven only knows/Seems more like the kind of place the devil would’ve chose…I know somewhere down the road my dreams will come true”

“Climb That Mountain High” is from Reba McEntire’s 1990 album, “Rumor Has It”.  It was one of the first CDs I bought and my first from Reba!

That song has always been a beacon of encouragement for me.  It was there when I was looking to launch my television news career and every time I was awaiting my next move.

I’ve been listening to the song again daily for weeks now!


Almost a year ago (in “Change”), I shared details of some big changes in my life that would take me to Panama City, Florida, “So, as much as I love Midwestern snows, I’m trading it all in for the occasional hurricane and tropical storm!”


What the hell was I thinking — giving up snow and four distinct seasons?

In my “Christmas Update” blog on December 18, 2017, I pontificated, “I’m miserable… life is too short to feel this way and if things don’t change soon, I’ll make a change for myself and not just accept a “Band-Aid” to cover something that needs more attention – my happiness.”

In a talk after the holidays with my fantastic news director Tom Lewis, he agreed that life’s too short to be unhappy.  I said I’d start looking to return to Midwest and if I didn’t find a job, I’d be gone by Halloween!

In February, I contacted some stations across Illinois to try to get back closer to my sister and my friends in the Quad Cities, where I spent 11.5 years before the ill-fated move to Florida.

Sadly, there were no openings and many “we’ll keep you in mind when we have a position available”.

“CHANGE 2.0”


In television news, like most professions, talent and experience are major factors to be considered.  However, timing and luck also play huge roles.

I contacted a station about an opening that was posted just after Thanksgiving.  I wondered why, four months later, the position wasn’t filled.

It turns out they were not in any hurry to fill the position and were waiting for the right person.

And, now back to that “timing and luck”.

The news director was at the end of his search.  He and I started corresponding and eight days later, I was offered the job and I accepted it.

My friends, in June, I’ll be the Chief Meteorologist at the Fox affiliate in Duluth, Minnesota, seven hours north of the Quad Cities.

I’m getting my four distinct seasons and my snow back!

From Wikipedia: “At 85″ per year, the port city of Duluth has the highest average snowfall total of any city in Minnesota”!

Two last weather notes:  I’ll have to get used to the bitter cold again.  The record low there is -41°, but it’s never reached 100° (97° is the record high).

I honestly feel like George Bailey in Bedford Falls at Christmas in “It’s A Wonderful Life”! Pottersville (Panama City, for me) was just an alternate universe!

Bedford Falls.gif

While some love it here and many love visiting the beaches (they think Panama City and Panama City Beach are the same), I just didn’t connect with the area.

At the beginning, from a dating standpoint, I wasn’t looking for anything since I was still reeling from the big changes in my personal life.

But, not one date in a year!!!

I’m now at the point where I’m ready to find my knight on a white horse like Vivian Ward (Julia Roberts in “Pretty Woman”).

“I would pretend I was a princess, trapped in the tower by a wicked queen. And then suddenly, this knight, on a white horse, with these colors flying, would come charging up and draw his sword… and I would wave, and he would climb up the tower, and rescue me.”

PW 1.gif

PW 2.gif

However, I did find two dear friends here — Cathy and Gerard Rifenburg.

Cathy founded the Panama City PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) chapter.


A month after I moved here, they graciously invited me to a function they were hosting at their house.

Since then, we’ve enjoyed dinners and parties together, including Christmas Day.

Cathy and Gerard, I’ll miss you dearly.

Another highlight of my move to Florida was an early Sunday morning road trip last July to Plains, Georgia, to meet my childhood idols, President Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter!

Autograph Carters

One thing I definitely won’t miss — this mentality! (Disclaimer: I know not everyone fits into this category!)


By the way (and this had no influence in my decision, but it makes me happy), Minnesota has only voted “red” once in my life time!

In 1972, it went along with 48 other states to re-elect Richard Nixon.  Yes, Reagan and Trump lost Minnesota!

So, I’ll proudly display my faded sticker on my car. (I did so in “red” Bay County, Florida, too!)



33 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Darla Beach on April 9, 2018 at 5:52 am

    I am so happy for you, Anthony! It weighed heavily on me that a beautiful spirit like yours was so unhappy. Minnesota will be that rainbow around the bend (haha!). Keep us “posted”!


    • Darla,

      Rainbows! Unicorns and more! 🙂

      Thank you very much for the well wishes. I know it’ll make me much happier.

      I hope all is well for the Beaches!



  2. Anthony- Sometimes in life we have to go on journey’s that, even though it may seem like a good idea at the time, Life has a funny way of teaching us otherwise. I wish nothing but peace, joy and happiness for you my wonderful handsome friend.


  3. Posted by Connie Huizenga on April 9, 2018 at 9:29 am

    Anthony, I am so happy for you and excited at the thought that you will be coming back to our neck of the woods. I was always taught that if you don’t have some bad in your life, you can’t appreciate the good. You’ve had enough comparison for a long while. I can’t wait to say welcome back!


    • Connie,

      I’m so excited to be back to the land of season and snow. 🙂 It thrills me to be a 7-hour drive from the QC and my family and friends.

      I’ll definitely appreciate my new look at life.



  4. Posted by susan c meador on April 9, 2018 at 9:30 am

    Congratulations How Awesome !!! And I Hope Your Knight Is Near ..Its Always When We Arent Looking For Love That It Apperars Right In Front Of You !!Soooo Happy For You ..Break Out Your Winter Woolies.. Goos Excuse To Shop 🙂 !!!!


    • Susan,

      Thank you very much. I’ll have a blast and I’ll try to be patient as I await the knight. 🙂

      I might have to buy more winter wear than what I had in the Quad Cities. 🙂

      Take care,



  5. So glad to see that you are coming back to the midwest. Like they say there’s no place like home. I have lived in Galesburg, IL all my life, and have been out in the southwest part of NM during winter and, around Christmas time plus most summers for about 11 years. It’s just not the same as the good ole midwest.


    • Bobette,

      Thank you very much.

      The Midwest is a great place and I can’t believe how much I’ve missed it over the past year.

      I’m glad to be heading back North!

      I hope life is treating you well.



  6. Posted by Pamela Sue on April 9, 2018 at 10:45 am

    Wonderful news! Wishing you safe travels on your journey back.


  7. So happy that you’re coming back to the Midwest~ enjoy your last months in Florida!!!


  8. Posted by Carrie S. Steafken on April 9, 2018 at 11:51 am

    I am so happy for you Anthony. No, you will not be in the Quad Cities, and I won’t be able to see you on my television. However, you will be happy with your move which is an awesome thing. I read your blog this afternoon with tears in my eyes as I am so happy for you. Good luck, and I hope you have a safe trip north.


    • Carrie,

      Thank you very much.

      While I won’t be in the Quad Cities with my family and friends, I think of you all often and I’ll be much closer. 🙂

      Happy tears! 🙂



  9. Posted by Nancy Nash on April 9, 2018 at 11:57 am

    Very happy for serendipitous timing of new job. And I totally understand about this place not being for you. It has a natural beauty but challenging circumstances to live in. Wishing you much success and happiness with your return to the Midwest.


  10. Posted by Joanne on April 9, 2018 at 3:59 pm

    Way to follow your heart! You will do great in your new city 🙂


  11. Posted by Rick Lodmell on April 9, 2018 at 4:58 pm

    It’s the right time for you to rebound, man, and Duluth might be the springboard for that. Truly hope this all works wells for you. Seven hours north of the QCA means one thing for sure, however: A couple of those four seasons will be pretty short, and another tends to be very long. I grew up in southeast SD and called the middle of IA a subtropical zone for years. The funny thing about friends who’ve moved to northern MN is that the severe cold doesn’t seem to affect them. Enjoy all of it, Anthony, and bless you. Peace & Love


    • Rick,

      Thank you very much for the kind words. I’m so excited and optimistic.

      I’m happy to hear that the severe cold doesn’t affect your northern MN friends. 🙂 I’ll love all the snow.

      Peace & Love to you, too.



  12. Posted by Erica Buckley on April 10, 2018 at 5:50 am

    YEAH!!! Happy you will be closer, and I’m so happy you will be making yourself happy


  13. Posted by Joyce Decherd on April 11, 2018 at 5:28 am

    You’ll be taking “chilling out” to new heights in your new abode but have heard many great things about Duluth. We wish you great happiness!


    • Joyce,

      “Chilling out” will be an understatement when the Arctic chill blasts in before it arrives in the QC. 🙂

      Thank you for the well wishes.

      I hope all is well with you guys in the QC!



  14. Posted by Richard Kennedy on April 15, 2018 at 8:35 am

    Congrats my Friend, this By no means will be the end of your journey I’m sure , but a major step up and another learning curve not necessarily in your professional life , But in Your Life, keep the smile no matter what it is one of the Keys that opens the Doors , OH! I came onto this planet on Friday in May on the 13th Ha! Ha! Ha! 🎶🎶🍀


  15. Posted by mary on April 15, 2018 at 2:46 pm

    Congratulations on your new adventure….The midwest is the best place to lve….lived here all my life…and my goldens are my companions……Good Luck my friend…..


  16. Posted by Donna Libby on April 16, 2018 at 6:04 pm

    WOW….I KNEW you’d miss the excitement of never knowing what to expect from day-to-day (minute-to-minute) weather in the Midwest! 😂🤪 Congratulations on the Duluth gig! It will be wonderful to have you back “in the neighborhood” again! 😘


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