Cleaning out drawers. This is what retirement comes down to in the end. People expect you to be wise and reflective, to say meaningful things, to look back on a long career and sum it all up.

But in reality, there’s one more paper to put out, I’m not sure what my front page looks like yet this week and the reporters have all suddenly disappeared. The newsroom is empty and quiet.

So I’m cleaning out the drawers in my office. And there they are — all the bits and pieces of a newspaper career. The stacks of business cards I saved — including my own. I never used them all. But when you’re editor of a community paper for 18 years and a reporter for even more years before that, you don’t really need business cards. You know everybody. And everybody knows where to find you.

I’ve always thought that’s the beauty and the challenge of community journalism — the intimacy of living alongside the people you write about every day. It sets the highest bar for accuracy and fairness, which has been a driving force for me.

But the real driving force has been my love of the Gazette, the little paper that thinks big.

In his book Once More the Thunderer, Henry Hough famously wrote about retirement.

“How to resign the duties of a country editor. . . how to hear the telephone ringing but let it go as one steps through the door as an editor for the last time. . . how to do this we should like to know,” he wrote.

When I came into the office the other day, I decided Hough had it wrong. It’s how to walk in the door, I thought. To smell the ink and dust in the pressroom, to clunk up the stairs to the newsroom, two steps at a time.

One more time.

There’s a lot that I’ll miss. The sound of bells from the Federated Church filtering into the newsroom on late winter afternoons when we’re putting another edition to bed. The clatter on Davis Lane outside on summer evenings with people walking by, snatches of conversations floating through open windows.

Most of all I’ll miss the people I’ve worked alongside for so many years. The ad sales reps with their mysterious pink and yellow sheets, the graphic designers who turn those sheets into display ads, Susan in classifieds who is the keeper of our bread and butter, Kathy in customer service who has turned mollifying disgruntled subscribers into an art form.

Sarah, our business manager who is the business manager every newspaper should have.

Skip, our ad director who is a historian and a writer and a renaissance man. Graham, our web director who is a department of one in the very best sense of the word, surrounded by a little garden of plants at his desk. Hilary, our librarian who is skillfully transforming an old-fashioned morgue stuffed with yellowed clips into a modern, digital archive. Jeremy the press man and his crew who arguably have the most important job at the paper.

Susie, our special projects editor who has a knack for turning straw into gold. Elizabeth, our unsinkable community editor who takes everything we throw at her in stride. John Kennedy, the best one-man backup band an editor could ever ask for.

The magazine staff, who I always think of as the Gazette’s slightly bohemian side: brilliantly apart, uncluttered by day-to-day things. The Gazette photographers who tell our stories so richly in pictures every week: Ray, Mark, Jeanna, Bert, Tim, Maria.

The columnists who add their authentic voices to the paper, from the garden to the waterfront.

Saving for last the reporters and editors of course — they’re on the front lines and the chief engine of excellence at the Gazette. Louisa, our senior writer and the kind of utility player every newsroom needs. Aidan and Zach, the latest in a long line of young reporters who get thrown in the deep end and quickly learn to swim. Bill, our managing editor and friend with whom I share so much, most of all a deep love of good writing. Steve, our art director and friend with whom I share an abiding love of all things Vineyard: quahaugging, scalloping, blueberry picking.

Finally, Jane, the perfect publisher and partner in crime who has taught me by example what true leadership looks like. And whose friendship I value above all others.

Time slips away. There’s something in my eye.

Back to the drawers. There’s a glass paperweight that was a long-ago gift from Joe Serpa, a traditionally trained glassblower of Portuguese descent who lived on Plantingfield Way in Edgartown, in an era when it was a modest, mostly year-round neighborhood. Four staplers, no staples. A pile of hand-written notes from people over the years that I saved. Some are from past Gazette reporters, thanking me for their time at the paper. For pushing them. For seeing their potential. Best job they ever had, many of them said.

And that’s exactly what it’s been.