Each year at this time, I reflect upon the past 12 months and try to determine what events or moments were the most memorable to me. It’s an interesting challenge, recalling an entire year filled with highs and lows and then condensing them into a list of only ten.
Once the list is finalized, the next step is to put them into some type of order. Which of these 10 were the most memorable for me? Which will be listed as second and so on, until they’re all in some order of significance. As you will soon see, the list below actually refers to more than 10 moments as some events were lumped into a category because there were similarities that brought them together.
To add an element of suspense, the top 10 (as always) are presented in reverse order as we count down to number one. Here’s this year’s list...
10. Fire Alley
We had barely begun the year 2011 when this nerve-wrecking moment occurred. Only a few days into the month of January, there was a major fire in the apartment building I live reside at. It was about 1:30 am when the alarms blared and everyone had to evacuate the building. The serious blaze was on the second floor and as it would turn out, every resident on that floor would have to find accomodations elsewhere for over a week, as each unit was restored from all the smoke damage. The rest of us were allowed back into the building the night (morning?) of the fire at about 5:30 am.
Oddly, It was only a few weeks ago that they finally began repairing the 2 units that were gutted by the fire and there still remains much speculation as to the nature of the blaze.
For those keeping count, this was the second big fire in this building in the past 5 years and one of many that have occurred on this street lined with apartment buildings. Maybe Roehampton Avenue should be renamed Fire Alley.
9. “Naughty or Nice Variety Show”, on a Night filled with Snow
There’s something about the Dunnville Community Theatre’s entourage that makes them shine like the biggest stars in Hollywood. It’s not that their performances are flawless and each of them is oozing with talent. In fact a few of the cast could probably have used a few more rehearsals. But collectively, the little community theatre that could, put on a variety show that was moving, entertaining and absolutely hilarious (even when it may not have been deliberate.)
Outside, the snow was falling heavily on this cold February night, but within the quaint theatre there was enough good will, talent and love to melt even the worst blizzard. And as if that wasn’t enough, the generous group had reserved complimentary front row seats for “scribbles”, pretty much assuring themselves a spot on our top 10 list this year! KUDOS to everyone at the Dunnville Community Theatre for another job well done. Can’t wait to see what you have planned for next season.
Although in some ways, Rob and I are quite different, there’s one thing we both enjoy a lot and that’s Halloween. It’s the one time of the year that we make every effort to dress up and go to the ENVY Lounge for one their Halloween gatherings and this year was no exception.
Rob’s costume was a baseball player from the movie “Angels in the Outfield”, I went as one of my idol’s, Tim McGraw, complete with a “pregnant’ Barbie doll playing the part of my wife Faith Hill. We had a great time at the club that night and “Tim McGraw” even left “Faith” –now “drunk” and still “with child”-suspended from a light fixture. I wonder if she was still “hanging around” for ENVY’S final Halloween event the following evening? LOL!!
What truly made this year’s Halloween special was when Rob and I (in full costume) had earlier surprised his Aunt Linda, who has resided at a division of a local hospital for over a year now. She loved our costumes and was quite smitten with “Tim McGraw”. Linda shares a room with 3 other ladies, one who is 100 years old. She too seemed to like “Tim” and his platform heals, which I gladly gave her a closer view of. Everyone in the room was full of merriment and that made this Halloween one of the best ever!
7. Family Health Woes
Throughout this year almost everyone in my immediate family has been ill, had some type of surgery, and/or spent much too much time in our local hospitals [insert shiver here.]
Sometimes it was hard to keep track of who was in the hospital or not and it was challenging for me, not exactly being the poster boy for good health myself.
Fortunately, most of my family’s health issue are under control these days, which is a great relief for us all.
6. Spending Time with “Little Man”
There is indeed many things that make my nephew Graham special, but I think the best one is his ability to allow me to escape my problems for a while and enjoy his company.
This Summer, my pal Becky spent lots of time at her cottage, so while she was not home I was on plant watering and koi pond duty. Joining me almost every visit was Graham. He got to play in the sprinkler, help Uncle Ken feed the fishies and enjoy a treat we had usually picked up on the way to Becky’s house. It was “our thing” and he made me smile, even on the days I wasn’t at my best. Now if only we could find a med that could do that?
It was a good time for me to “stand by my man” when Rob went for surgery two times this year. Both procedures were done in hopes of stopping him from snoring at night. The first operation was inside his nose and more recently he had his tonsils, uvula and other stuff removed from his throat. OUCH! I did my very best to nurse him back to better health and he really appreciated it (as evident by the 3 foot Homer Simpson plush toy he gave me as a “thank you” gift.)
Although the first procedure was a bust, they got it right the second time around, as he no longer snores, meaning a better night’s rest for all.
4. Guns, Roses and a Sexy Cowboy
When it comes to music, I have very eclectic taste, quite evident this year when I attended the concerts of two of my all-time favourites, Tim McGraw and Guns n’ Roses. What made the shows even more memorable was the fact I attended them both with my official concert mate Becky Lee (who for the record isn’t a major McGraw fan, but enjoyed the show nonetheless.)
Both concerts were memorable for different reasons, especially the GnR show, which was our second time seeing the band and our first time having 4th row seats. Awesome!
Each year we say goodbye to people we love and this year was no exception. A huge loss was felt when Ricky Holditch lost his battle with cancer at the tender age of 26. In recent months we lost our friends Tim Tosato (aka Teenah Laweese) , George Summer, Dave Doggitt and long time neighbour- and friend to many, Vivian Campbell.
This was also the year Canada lost Jack Layton. Tributes from coast to coast poured out and a state funeral followed. Jack was a politician whom many considered a true friend, who respected and represented all walks of life and his contributions will never be forgotten.
We also said goodbye to many of our beloved pets including my "invisible cat" Alysha, Merry Proulx's dog Precious and cat Flipper and Pam Hopkins beloved pooch Charlie.
I could easily have put this as my most memorable event of the year, especially considering how much of the past 12 months it consumed, but I vowed to give the top spot to a happy event. I am of course referring here to my chronic neck and back pain. I took a 3 month leave of absence from work, underwent various treatments (including nerve burnings) and popped more pills than I care to remember. And what were the results of all this? I am still managing my pain with medications and stretches and sometimes it totally drains me physically and mentally. Let’s hope this item doesn’t appear on next year’s countdown.
And my most memorable event of the year is...
1. The Grand Reunion
Although everyone was happy for Ginny Eckert when she found her true love Michelle (Mickey) Bertrand and moved to Winnipeg to be with her a few years back, we also missed our dear friend a lot. So you can imagine our delight when Ginny and Mickey announced they were hosting a family reunion this Summer, smack dab in the middle of a spacious park in St Catharines…and everyone was invited!
The weather was perfect and the park was ideal, easily accommodating the large group of family and friends in attendance. It was so nice to see Ginny, her kids and Mickey again along with everyone who made it to the reunion.
It is without doubt or hesitation my most memorable moment of 2011 and I thank Ginny and Mickey for making it all happen.
To be fair, there were other events in 2011 that also stood out, but fell short of making my top ten list. With that in mind I send a shout out to these most memorable moments...Alina Dennis' baptism, dinner with my pals Pat and Joe Fenerty (aka Wilma and Fred), the day I ran over a sparrow ("Chirp, chirp" SPLAT), running into my old pal Patty at Hartzel Animal Hospital's Open House, my niece Erin's 16th birthday and my cousins Jeanne and Megan's visit to St Catharines.