The fading moment that we call 2011 has left a set of impressions in every mind. You will remember the year for your own reasons, and I will remember the slice of time for mine.
Those reasons might intertwine more than you would imagine. Let’s share. May I go first?
I’ll start my list with a Valentine’s Day wedding, across the bridge in South Carolina. That event shaped my year and many years to come. Of course, no husband should begin a list with any other event. That’s a reality that even I can grasp.
And your list?
OK, I’ll tell one more.
December’s passing marks a full year of exploring and enjoying McDuffie County. I’ve only scratched the surface. Then again, I’m beginning to find that is not uncommon among multi-year residents and even lifetime McDuffians. There’s more than any one year can reveal, and it’s too much to appreciate in just a dozen fleeting months. It’s also too much to pack into a single column, and I won’t even try.
Dozens of weekends owe their identities to scheduled events. Two activities, however, especially erase the boundaries that separate weekends.
Relay for Life is not just a single evening in the Thomson area. It’s a year-round commitment that keeps volunteers busy even when walkers and luminaria no longer circle the high school track. From a formal kickoff at Rotary, to a brightly colored porcelain potty making its way from yard to yard, through bake sales and car washes and yard sales and church events and factory donations to outright gifts, Relay unites varied interests and neighborhoods in a way that any county would envy. I look forward to those bake sales, to hearing the stories of survivors and of those whose fight continues.
Do you remember Relay? How are you supporting Relay this year? OK, just write it down and tell me when you feel like it. I’ll continue with the second major activity.
This town sure loves its football. A person doesn’t need to be here a whole year to understand that. Just a glance at the memorabilia on any office shelf will confirm that connection. Winter, spring, summer or football, Thomson’s love of the Bulldogs manifests itself in fundraisers and ticket stampedes, and in practice, weighlifting, practice, game nights and more practice. Once again, the common interest unites a community in a way that any mayor or chamber of commerce would envy.
As with you, I’ll associate some events of 2011 with personal notes, at least for now. I rushed back from my last visit with my father just in time for Relay. Jane and I were watching the fireworks over the lake north of Raysville the evening of July 1 when we got the call and rushed to his bedside in Indiana. We returned to visit him in October and missed Thomson’s final marching band triumph. We were leaving the Burke County game when we got the call that Dad was failing. I called my brother-in-law from outside election headquarters on Nov. 8 to learn that there was little hope.
Dad watched the second half of the Henry County game from a loftier seat. I hope he remembered to bite his tongue.
Better memories will compete for my attention at the end of 2012.
As for resolutions, I resolve that I will not cover the Blind Willie McTell Blues Festival. I resolve that anyone else on the planet will step forward to cover the fest for The McDuffie Mirror, and that I will bring a tent, sunscreen and my day-off garb. I think I deserve that after 2011.
In my brief stay in this community, I’ve been told that there is no mean ink in my pen. I’ve been told that I like to show folks the things they might otherwise take for granted. I just like to think that I like people.
I look forward to more Saturdays following the main drag from Washington Road to Main Street to Jackson Street to Wrens Highway, finding photos, fundraisers and personal stories. I look forward to Relay and to football. And another huge marching band triumph.
What? Now you want to tell your story? Well, it’s not too late. We’ll call it a letter to the editor or a guest column or a phone call. The invitation is older than Thomson. All that information is in that box at the bottom of the page. I’ve given out about 600 business cards in the year past; my cell phone number is on every one of them. Please let me send one your way.
Goodbye 2011. Hold that thought, Dad.