Congrats, we’ve made it—leapt the looming holiday hurdle past Christmas—our bellies chock full of chocolate and jiggling with egg nog—with New Year’s a mere sprint away.
You know that saying about the person who, rather than appearing perfectly preserved, lying peacefully in their casket at the end of their life, wants to come flying into their funeral at the last minute, preferring to seize every second of the day and squeeze as much living out of life as possible?
That’s my friend Sylvia* (I’ve changed her name in the event that—should she take the time to tear herself away from multiple Boxing week sales to read this—she doesn’t kick my ass. At this point, I don’t have nearly enough energy to defend myself).
You see, I’m still recovering from a whirlwind pre-Christmas vacation with her that actually turned into a full-blown eight-day shopathon. And while she is used to—and actually thrives on—shopping from morning till night, scouring cities, states, websites, curbsides and countrysides for the absolute best deals, I am more prone to avoiding crazed crowds at all costs, curling up in the fetal position in a remote corner of the store, sucking my thumb to scare away demented deal-seekers and stave off dehydration.
And suddenly she’d appear, smiling maniacally while juggling armloads of Christmas presents—not only for her husband, three kids and granddaughter—but also dangling treasures she thought my family might like.
I should have remembered that Syl is a superhuman specimen, capable of shopping for hours and hours on end with no food or water; a Costco camel.
Most of the week, we gnawed on crackers and cheese in the car, on our hurried way to countless stores, while Syl—her brain a virtual catalogue of memorized items and prices—bartered her way to bargains with sales staff on the car’s speaker phone in between “just running into” a blur of stores across Florida.
I’ve just recently recovered from 12 summers ago, when we spent 19 days literally running across Europe, soaking in as many sights and as much adventure as humanly possible—from riding donkeys up a majestic seaside cliff on a secluded Greek island, to gliding in gondolas along scenic swan-filled rivers in beautiful Bruges, Belgium.
Running through airports in several major cities, giggling and dragging our bulging bags behind us, crammed to the zippers with souvenirs, we came back with even bigger bags under our eyes, having had very little sleep, but enough memories to last a lifetime.
I’m reminded of her—and that magnificent wild adventure—every time I arrive at an airport two hours early. Whenever that happens to me—or to her—we text each other: “What a waste. We could be zip lining, or swimming,” or—of course—(her texts), “shopping.”
We met as classmates at Thorold High School, and together, have been trying to carpe various diems ever since.
This summer, I endured a double stinkeye from Bob when we had to find room to shove six plastic wine glasses, books and CDs into our motorcycle saddlebags—I couldn’t resist when they cost next to nothing at the Thorold Community Garage Sale.
This is a metaphor for Syl and I, who are always trying to cram the most fun we can into every single second.
The entire year has seemed like that for Bob and I, since we restarted the Thorold News Dec. 6, 2017 and just a few weeks ago, celebrated our one-year News anniversary with a merger with Village Media.
We can’t tell you how happy we are to be able to concentrate all our energy on writing and covering all that’s happening in Thorold, backed by a professional and successful yet nice, friendly news/sales team.
Two people completing every single aspect of running a newspaper isn't feasible for a long term. Health-wise, it’s been a weird year, with a brief return of my dreaded frozen shoulder, and something new, plantar fasciitis, which left me painfully parading around all summer, wobbling on wedgie shoes with special orthotics and my bathing suit, desperately hoping no one came to the door, so I didn’t have to say that I was practicing for the pageant.
Luckily, I have my seeing-eye-Bob, as my eyesight becomes more and more suspect. At a Jeff Beck concert at Artpark this past summer, I came back from the washroom and couldn’t find a single person in the gang of a dozen or so we’d arrived with, even though they were all waving and snickering at my inability to spot them, sitting smugly in a row of lawnchairs among the crowd. The laughing was compounded by the fact that—due to my plantar fasciitis at the time—I was walking, as Bob said, like Walter Brennan.
As we stumble into another year, here’s hoping 2019 finds you crammed to the gills with fun surprises!