GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – When I was growing up, my family like to use a phrase for something that is never likely to happen: “When pigs fly.”

I can hear my brothers saying – if I could tell them – that I would:

+ Work for 45 years at a newspaper…

+ Earn the title Critic at Large…

+ Retire just long enough to write an award-winning book with a revered Great Lakes captain…

+ Attend a concert of classical music our father loved so much and at intermission meet a TV executive who ends up hiring me to write for his station’s website and appear on air weekly…

+ Set a goal of writing an article for publishing on the website every day of the year…

+ And achieve that for 9½ years – including through a badly broken ankle and a pandemic that leads me to record my Sunday segments on my computer in locations in and around my house…

Until now.

In the midst of my job with WFRV-TV, I purchased a statuette of a pig with wings. (Warren Gerds)

This is my concluding column.

I am leaving WFRV-TV, and this is my final day.

As recommended by my wife, I’ve already told the boss of the station, “It’s been a grin, thank you.”

Time is a factor. I was told my time at the station for writing reviews has run out, and my option for staying led to an easy decision that was coming soon anyway: Go. Too much has been set aside for my “half-time, full-time” TV job, and other appealing work awaits.

Ahead, I have five books to finish to go with the nine I’ve written that are in the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.

One coming book is a sequel, and another is the completion of a trilogy.

Another is a children’s book that tells of a special tree.

Another book is “Everything You Need to Know,” which will be filled with comical surprises – to be followed by a book of more surprises.

Another surprise will be a performance March 25 at St. Norbert College: A music professor asked me to read selections from three of my books for her to follow with songs she will sing in four languages.

I can hear my brothers: “When pigs fly.”

Preparing for that concert will take time to do it justice and get it right.

So did writing a letter of recommendation – as requested and based on what I do – for a visual artist in our area to pursue qualifying for a research fellowship with the Smithsonian.

And so will other plans for adding to my contributions to the David A. Cofrin Library of the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.

I can hear my brothers: “When pigs fly.”

Approximately 9,000 of my Press-Gazette clippings are already in that library.

For WFRV, I’ve written more than 3,500 reviews, columns and articles.

As I move on to complete projects I have started, this important element:

That I have been a journalist came with a kind of resolve for my three brothers and our parents. Our family suffered harm from a newspaper. One of my brothers was libeled in a homicide case.

I remember as a boy be beckoned to the dining room of our house in West Allis with everyone bawling and wailing and thrashing in sheer suffering. My brother had been hauled off to jail for something he didn’t do. Years of anguish followed before a suit was settled.

My father was a self-made high-level engineer, and he wished for me to earn an engineering degree at a university.

I tried for two years but didn’t have that aptitude.

I wanted to be a writer, and I switched majors to a field in which I could do that and earn a living.

Only when it was clear I would be a newspaperman did I realize how my father might feel. I spoke with him.

His youngest kid would be in something that caused so much unwarranted pain and disgrace.

He had every right to say, “When pigs fly will I accept this.”

My 6-foot-3 father said only three words that became my standard:

“Get it right.”