This sort of column wasn’t originally planned for at least another four and a half months.

When I started at the newspaper in late May, I told many folks on my beat and around the community that I intended to stay in Jay County for at least one year. Maybe even two.

It was a pledge I took seriously, but it’s pledge I won’t be keeping.

Thursday marked my last day at The Commercial Review. I’ve moved back to St. Louis for a reporting position with The College Fix, an online higher education news publication.

Accepting the new job wasn’t an easy decision. Even after I accepted the position, I still felt a bit uneasy.

The day after, I called my dad and expressed that I had second thoughts about moving back to St. Louis.

I wasn’t sure if I was ready to leave Jay County. I’m not sure if I’ll ever step foot into a more welcoming and caring community. A life-long suburbanite, I wasn’t sure what to expect from rural America. But in seven months, I’ve learned it’s communities like Portland, Geneva and Fort Recovery that make up the best of America.

As I head home, I’ll recall my days in Jay County with fondness.

I’ll remember the good times at the Jay County Fair and Tri-State Gas Engine and Tractor Association Show. I had a blast covering both.

I’ll remember Monday mornings with Jay County Commissioners Faron Parr, Doug Inman and Jim Zimmerman. Those three, along with county attorney Bill Hinkle, always treated me with the utmost respect. We shared plenty of laughs. I’ll miss shooting the breeze with them to kick off the work week.

I’ll remember living amongst such kind neighbors. The hellos from Joe and Cindy Ruchgy and Chet and Amy Franks always brightened my day. I always enjoyed chatting with my young next door neighbors, Wes and Matthew. The boundless energy of those two kids was infectious.

I’ll remember Sunday mornings, teaching religious education to a group of fourth graders at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church. At times, the kids were a handful. But they carried such a loving spirit and I hope I’ve helped grow their Catholic faith. All of my students leave me incredibly optimistic about the future of Jay County.

I’ll remember my coworkers here at The Commercial Review. I’m proud to call them friends. You’re lucky to have them in this community. Their dedication and relentless efforts to serve community are incredible. It truly takes a team effort to produce such a great product.

I’ll miss the wisdom and stories from Jack Ronald.

I’ll miss sharing a beer on the weekends with Caleb Bauer. He’s a terrific, curious reporter.

Believe it or not, I’ll miss editor Ray Cooney teasing me about Missouri. I’m not sure there’s a journalist who works harder in this state.

I’ll miss chatting sports and running with sports editor Chris Schanz. He’s poised to crush his first half marathon in May.

I’ll miss readers who have been kind enough to tell me they enjoyed my column. Writing it has been one of the most enjoyable aspects of this job. I hope to keep it going, posting at least a couple times a month on my blog: www.lifeofnaterub.blogspot.com.

I’ll certainly miss Jay County. There’s only one place that could pull me away before the one-year mark, and it’s home.

As you may know, I have a 93-year-old grandfather and 92-year-old grandmother. There’s no two people I admire more. I couldn’t pass up the chance to spend more time with them.

My niece turned 2 on Friday. As her godfather, I want to be there to see her grow up. I can’t wait to spend more time with her.

While I’m leaving the area, I hope to stay in touch. You can follow me on Twitter (@NateRub), friend me on Facebook or shoot me an email anytime (nrubbelke@gmail.com).

In the past year, I’ve tried use Proverbs 16:9 to help guide my life. It states that “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.”

I’ll forever thank the Lord for letting my feet touch the ground in Jay County. It’s been a blessing.