Making Good on a Bad Decision

“I feel that I need to do something while I’m still healthy and still young enough to start over again because we never really know how much time we have left! 

I don’t want to be a really old man and be saddled with regrets that I could have done something about.”

Those were my thoughts in June 2019 in my “I Need to Write My ‘Next Chapter'” blog.

Capture

I really don’t have too many regrets in my life, but there’s one that’s been weighing heavily on me.

My life shattered in February 2017 when my ex and I decided to end our marriage and our eight-year relationship.

I made the irrational decision to move away from the Quad Cities rather than stay and start my life over again there.

So, after 11.5 years in Moline, Illinois, I took a job in Panama City, Florida, and moved there in May 2017.  I stayed for a year.

AP G C

I made three incredible friends, Gerard and Cathy, who started the Panama City PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) chapter, and Diane, a neighbor in my apartment complex.

Also, while there, I drove through the backwoods of the South to Plains, Georgia, to meet my idol, former President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter.

Autograph Carters

However, there was nothing else I liked about Panama City or the area.

So, in the summer of 2018, I took the Chief Meteorologist position at the Fox affiliate in Duluth, Minnesota.

It gave me a chance to work with some really great people, including zany Dan Hanger, our evening anchor, the most popular newscaster in Northland television!

After our appearance at the Superior, Wisconsin, Halloween parade, we decided to have an adult beverage and we sent our evening director Katie this little snippet of us lip syncing Taylor Swift’s “You Need To Calm Down”.

The joke is that Katie regularly has to tell Dan, “Not Today!” 🙂

And, speaking of Katie…

She and her mother, Mary Kaye, became two of my dearest friends, along with Kass, one of my neighbors.

For the past two Thanksgivings and Christmases, I feasted with Katie and Mary Kaye (and Duke, the golden retriever).  We also made it a point to have each other over for Saturday night dinners almost monthly.

Capture

As you can tell, they’re camera shy! 🙂

And, Kass regularly hosted cocktail hour at her place for the two of us to enjoy each other’s company and talk.

But, the dating scene in Duluth was dismal and my work schedule became very undesirable.  No one wants to basically work around the clock for days on end — at any age or at any point in their career!

Plus, I was still an eight-hour drive away from my sister, Tammy, in the Quad Cities.

Night Cruise

When I was in Bangkok, Thailand, in March 2019, I made the decision that when my contract was up in June 2020, I’d move to Las Vegas, give up television, and wait tables!

I wanted to start living again!

However, this winter, after a lot of thought and deliberation (with myself), I came to the conclusion that maybe it wasn’t the right time in my life.

And, then Coronavirus came along and I’m glad I didn’t pursue Vegas as “home”.

As that door closed, another one opened and a great opportunity presented itself to me out of the blue.

Now, the time has come to share some news with you — the “next chapter” is beginning soon amidst the Coronavirus pandemic! 😱

Kylie

Back in May 2017 as I was driving through Henry County, Illinois, on Interstate 74, tears streamed down my face as I left my sister, my friends, and my shattered life in the Quad Cities.

This past February, I made a covert trip back to the Quad Cities and Illinois. 🙂

And, this time, driving that same stretch of I-74 in Henry County at sunrise offered me hope and the chance to right the wrong — I was making good on a bad decision!

Henry County Illinois

“Climb That Mountain High” from Reba McEntire’s 1990 album, “Rumor Has It”, has always been a beacon of encouragement for me.

The song was an inspiration to me when I started my television news career and it’s given me hope every time I was ready to move on.

“Red sun a-rising, over the hill/I’ve had enough of this desert to last from now until… This could be the day I finally find my way out”

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

I’m heading back to the Land of Lincoln!

I accepted the morning meteorologist position at the NBC affiliate in Decatur, in central Illinois!  (It’s part of the Champaign-Decatur-Springfield television market.)

Decatur

Now, I’ll be able to see my sister in three hours, instead of setting aside a whole day to drive one way!

And, we’ll be able to spend holidays together again!

AP T

And, along with this “next chapter”, #Pug2020 is still in my plans unless the real life situation (Coronavirus, again!) delays it!

By the way, this “air freshener” was another “sign” from Bangkok last year.  It was in one of the cabs! 🙂

#Pug2020

Thailand Pug AP

MY NEXT APARTMENT

Let’s end on a lighthearted note!

When I left Kentucky, for good, in the summer of 1994 for Chicago, as my 20s were winding down, I envisioned my next apartment complex.

I had hoped it’d be like “Melrose Place” with Jake (Grant Show) as my neighbor. 🙂

Grant Amy

Okay, the “Melrose Place” before crazy Kimberly (Marcia Cross) moved in and blew the damn place up! 🙂

Melrose Place

Oops, spoiler alert!

Or, I was dreaming of 28 Barbary Lane (“Tales of the City”) with Anna Madrigal as my eccentric land lady…

28 Barbary Lane

and Mary Ann Singleton (Laura Linney) and Michael “Mouse” Tolliver as my friends!

Mary Ann

Neither has happened in all my moves, but there’s always Decatur!  LOL

Honestly, I think I’m too old for those silly dreams and dramas now!

My friends, here’s to new beginnings and a happy, healthy new future — not just for me, but for all of us!

Anthony

34 responses to this post.

  1. Congrats on the new job! And don’t forget to send me your new address!

    Renne Whitmore Co-Director DE Paranormal Research Group

    >

    Reply

  2. Posted by Robert Byhre on March 26, 2020 at 7:30 am

    Good for you Anthony! I wish you much luck.

    Reply

  3. Posted by Jim Peterson on March 26, 2020 at 7:41 am

    God bless!!

    Reply

  4. I’m glad you’re moving back!!!

    Reply

  5. Posted by Danell DeBacker on March 26, 2020 at 8:08 am

    Welcome back to the flatland!

    Reply

  6. Posted by Jody on March 26, 2020 at 8:19 am

    Congrats. Have a great new beginning! Hugs.

    Reply

  7. Posted by Carrie Henderson on March 26, 2020 at 8:51 am

    Yayyy….I am SO happy and excited for you and your move closer to “home”!!! I love the Melrose Place reference…lol…if only we could find it without the drama!!! I have learned through this epidemic that life is meant to be lived…I am not living enough and it needs to change! CHEERS to the next chapter in your life….it is going to be GREAT!!!!
    💟💟💟

    Reply

    • Carrie,

      Thank you very much.

      I’m glad I made you LOL with “Melrose Place”. One day, I may need to go back and re-watch it and finish it. I dropped off somewhere along the way.

      Let’s both start living again after this pandemic.

      AP

      Reply

  8. Posted by Deb on March 26, 2020 at 9:38 am

    Anthony, I wish you the best in your life. Thanks for continuing to share your story with us.

    Reply

  9. Posted by Stacey Adger on March 26, 2020 at 10:37 am

    I am SO happy that you have this opportunity! You have had some ups and downs but this sounds like a wonderful plan! Life is full of what-ifs and things we wish we could change, but everything that we experience makes us into the person we are today. After 16 years in broadcast only to jump to law enforcement in my mid 30s was a bit daunting, but the fear of ‘what ifs’ plaguing me the rest of my life if I had not, spurred me into action. After shifts of working with some who made 8 hours seem like 16 and to cap it off, getting shot 2 months later, well that was NOT in the game plan I envisioned! That being said, that experience and everything which has happened to me since has helped to put me in a good place. Everything you experience in life; good, bad, happy, unjust…ALL OF IT shapes you. I am so proud of you and happy that our paths crossed all those years ago. Glad you will be nearer to your beloved sister and you have “a better chance of” me darkening your doorstep now as opposed to the gig you are leaving. 🥶😅 Be well and best wishes!!!❤

    Reply

    • Stacey,

      Thank you very much. You are too sweet (and so are all of your treats!).

      I so enjoyed my time with you in Youngstown. We’ve both had our ups and downs and we’re still making it.

      I wish only the very best for you now and in the future.

      Love,
      AP

      Reply

  10. Great news, Anthony! You will be closer! Let us know when you are in the Quad Cities and are getting together with friends. Nancy and I would love to say hello. Good luck in Decatur!!!

    Reply

  11. Posted by Connie Huizenga on March 26, 2020 at 2:55 pm

    Anthony, I am so happy that you will be back, and closer, to all of us. We have missed you in The Land of Lincoln. I hope that this move finds you the happiness and peace you so very much deserve. You know that I had wondered and guessed at your next chapter. I was pretty close to where you would end up. I still think that Las Vegas is in your future. Maybe retirement? All in all, we don’t know what the future holds for any of us. We need to do what we have to do to be happy in the here and now. That is my wish for you. For me, I wish for me to have your new address. Safe travels and happy life.

    Reply

    • Connie,

      Thank you very much. You know how much I’ve missed all of you.

      Vegas can always be a place to eat and drink lots of mimosas for me. 🙂

      Take care and I hope to see you this year — when we can socialize again.

      Love,
      AP

      P.S. You were very close on your guesses.

      Reply

  12. Posted by Brenda J. Fowler on March 26, 2020 at 5:51 pm

    Congrats!! Welcome back to Illinois!!

    Reply

  13. Posted by JAQ on March 26, 2020 at 6:02 pm

    Dear Anthony,
    I am SO happy for you! I’ve been your fan for many years. And even though we don’t know one another, on some level, I feel I do know you some through all you’ve posted. Decatur is an excellent idea. I know you are making a great decision. Congratulations!!! Stay healthy and safe. Sincerely, Julie Ann

    Reply

    • Julie Ann,

      Thank you very much. You’re too kind.

      I choose to call us friends. 🙂 I appreciate you following me all this time.

      Stay safe and healthy, as well.

      AP

      Reply

  14. Posted by Camilla Winterland on March 26, 2020 at 7:43 pm

    Anthony…Mama Rod here (Camilla) good for you life is too short. Decatur is only approx 45 minutes from Rodney and me at Sunset Lake in Girard. Wishing and praying for you to follow your heart and journey. You did so much for me. I’ll never forget you. Always here at the lake for you. You’re the best. Hugs, Camilla

    Reply

    • Hello Mama Rod! It’s so nice hearing from you! Remember all those shots! 🙂 I can’t wait to see the Lake. The house is beautiful. Looking forward to hanging out with you — when we’re able to again! Stay safe and healthy Camilla! 🙂

      Reply

  15. Posted by Kristin on March 26, 2020 at 9:08 pm

    Wonderfully told; all of my love and best wishes on your newest adventure! So good to hear there’s something to focus on OTHER than CoViD . Thanks for sharing ❤️👍🏻👏🏻

    Reply

  16. Posted by jbarcroft on March 27, 2020 at 10:08 am

    You have too much left unsaid and to write so I don’t think you would have been happy waiting tables….your talents are obvious to me Anthony. You relate to people and know how to convey yourself in a manner that enriches those that know you. You will love your new job and people there will be blessed to know you. Best wishes!!!

    Reply

    • Thank you very much for the kind words.

      I’m sorry it took me so long to respond. I am loving my new job, my new hours, and my new Peeps. Once we get a grip on this pandemic, it’ll be nice to get to see central Illinois and get to make friends.

      Happy Easter and happy spring!

      AP

      Reply

  17. Posted by Eric on April 22, 2020 at 9:19 pm

    Good luck, Anthony! I didn’t realize you were leaving, but noticed your absence on my TV the past few weeks and realized you must not be on vacation. As a native Illinois person, I wish you well there…I totally understand the difficulty of the drive (I have much family there too. I see them all once or twice a year, and it’s hard). This blog post was such a story! I know those “starting-over” times too well, but boy, they can be fun! I hope this one is your best yet. Thanks for visiting Duluth for as long as you did, we appreciate good meteorologists in this weird weather area!

    Reply

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