"2013, Did Not Shut Up!"
Jess Shut Up
This column started off last year as a twice-a-month, slap-you-in-the-face, get motivated, make-you-think piece in the paper. It soon became an every week read-at-the-coffee-drinking station of your choice. So let’s look back at what was written that brought tears to your eyes and anger to your lips.
We started off the year comparing sports (sorry John) to our lives. How can we cheer on our neighbor to be better? Do we understand why a coach coaches the way he or she does? Can we be a coach for living better lives? Well, we can try. Trying is half the battle. You will never win if you don’t try.
We then had a mix of wrestling, cougars and Valentines Day. Odd combo but a lot was said. It was followed by a column of customer service and how it is a dying breed. Although recently I have seen it flourishing in some businesses around town, mostly in individuals that make these businesses happy places to spend our money. By the way, tips are bigger with better service. That’s a tip for you.
In March I challenged you all to be better volunteers. I know volunteering is hard in a time and era where your time is so limited. I also had to pull out of some volunteerism for my own health reasons. But I also helped in other areas and continue to seek out those that need help and you did too. We saw many new organizations bloom into plantations of helping and filling the needs of others. Good Job.
Consolidation. There I said it again. Going back over 50 years, our founding mothers and fathers have all said that consolidation is a good idea. But it always seems to stop right at the doorstep of the city halls. It should be looked at again. Well to be blunt, we should consolidate. We also discussed a community forum where all issues could be discussed in a open and controlled manner. It did not happen.
Charlie Knight captured the attention of all with her moving story of her sister and the walk she organized in her honor. I challenge someone out there to keep this walk going in the future. Colorama was a success again in the area. We saw more visitors and people out enjoying the festivities than ever before. By the way, congrats to the Ridge Riders once again putting on the rodeo of the year. Lets go for a three-peat.
John Houston was my first “Gem in the Coulee” with his work in other devastated areas and the sacrifices he made to help. (Mr. Houston is currently asleep in a rocking chair somewhere; if you find him please lead him back home to his grandchildren and wife).
We then had a glimpse into the future of the class of 2013. Just so you know, I made that all up. Well except for the rednecks with mullets. To those of you I did not mention, I am sorry but it just might be better that I didn’t. The column would have turned into a trilogy.
We discussed the holes in the community. Remember this one because part of it is playing out right in front of us in the newspapers recently and more people are leaving, with others threatening. Do something community. Stop the nonsense.
We were also to reach out to our neighbors and see if they needed help. Or to just show them we appreciate them.
At the beginning of July we let our patriotism fly at full mast. We remembered why we are free and what it cost. We also thanked our firefighters for keeping us all safe once again this year. We also got a treat from the Derby Dames and Rayne Rabe as roller derby skated into our lives at North Dam Park. I for one hope these ladies keep on rolling into next summer. Rayne is now skating in Alaska but she is still delivering bruises down here through the team she helped develop.
We spoke of the importance of our pictures. Some of us have lost these precious memories in fires recently and we remember the importance of a snapshot in time. We ended July talking about change. We saw a lot of it this year too. New school, new mayors and new direction.
Our camping trips started and fun was had and lives where saved. Thanks again, Taylor Haven. Then there were my football predictions. Yes, I did pick Seattle in the Super Bowl. So far, so good.
As school started up again in the area, our community was rocked by a hard blow from reality when we lost one of of precious young members in the community. My heart still aches for him and his parents’ loss.
I then challenged kids to go outside and play. Get dirty in the dirt. Well, now I challenge you to go have a snowball fight (when we get snow), go sledding, have fun. Be a kid.
Then it was on to being a man in this day and age and how tears don’t make you less of a man. Thank goodness. (Don’t say a word, Jamie H). We also talked about losing and winning with style. Lots of people have stopped me in the store about this one and thanked me for it.
Some history needed to be filled in on the names of some of the area and it started a reliving of the past for some Belvedere residents as the letters flowed in.
Then we had our second Gem in the Coulee, Mikey Williams. My most-read column, by far. Thanks Mike, for just being you. Teachers, hunting, empty nest, and more challenges rounded out the year.
Thank you, readers of The Star for letting me into your lives every week. I will continue to try and challenge the readers, especially the youth in our area, to expand their thought process. I thank all you who give me ideas and just be yourselves. You all inspire me.
Merry Christmas and have a Blessed New Year.