In with a bang; out with a sigh . . . 2008–goodbye

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By Carolyn Risner

While I always look forward to the dawn of a new year, I am nonetheless saddened by the passing of the old year.

Most people celebrate New Year’s Eve as a time to cast away the old and embrace the new. I do too, to a certain extent, but there’s always a small bit of the evening that I claim as a reflective period to remember, to mourn and of course, to laugh.

2008 started off with a huge bang–literally.

Friends of mine, who shall remain nameless for reasons you will soon learn, hosted a humongous party on their secluded property. Food, drink and fireworks were plentiful throughout the evening. But the pièce de résistance came at midnight when the husband put a stick of dynamite into an old microwave and blew it to kingdom come.

Yes, I know. I know. It was foolish, even dangerous, but it was exciting and no one, not even a squirrel, was harmed in this welcoming of the new year.

After that, I knew anything that happened in 2008 would pale in comparison and all New Year’s Eve celebrations would from then on be judged by that one.

There was no way as I watched that microwave explode that I could have imagined the ensuing 365 days and all the changes that would come down the pike.

At the newspaper, we saw staff changes as some retired and some sought jobs closer to their homes.

There was Claude’s unexpected death that still today rattles me in a way I cannot explain. The void he left is an abyss from which it will take time to see the daylight.

We all wondered how the downward spiraling economy would affect us, and if tomorrow we would have jobs since so many in our field were laid off.

We all banded together and pledged to do whatever we needed to do to ensure no one lost his job–even if it meant cleaning our own toilets and recycling office paper in an effort to save money. We’re practicing preventative medicine and trusting it works.

I saw my middle child go across the country to Lake Tahoe to do a college internship, leaving everyone he knew and embarking on his adult life without aid of family and friends.

It was a big step for him–for the entire family and I can’t help but be envious of the opportunity he had at such a tender age. I hope in years to come Nick will view it as the summer of his cultural awakening, instead of the summer of his discontent.

And then of course there was Tom’s decision to come to Florida. It all happened so quickly that neither of us had time to ponder the enormity of what it meant.

Florida or Bust. That was all he knew as he signed the mortgage papers the day of the closing.

It all worked out and he now jokes about his four weeks of retirement before landing a job–something he had not planned on doing for six months.

Except for the panic attacks that sent me to the cardiologist, my health remains intact. My job is satisfying. My friends are loyal. My children flourish in their young adult lives. My life is good and I am happy.

As the year draws to a close this week, there will be little time to mourn as the reflections have brought smiles to my face as I write this.

It was a year that passed quickly and was filled with so much more than I could have ever thought and I am reminded daily “to everything there is a season.”

Imagine–your dream fulfilled. Dream–the impossible. Believe–the best is yet to come.

This is the motto I have claimed for my home even to the point of having its framed version by the front door so I see it every day, coming and going.

Words to live by. Words to see in the new year. My wish for you in 2009.

Carolyn Risner is the editor of the Chiefland Citizen. You may reach her at editor@chieflandcitizen.com.