Blogs > Jim Collins' Editor's Notebook

Jim Collins is editor emeritus of The News-Herald and also serves as executive in residence at Lakeland Community College. His popular weekly column appears each Sunday in Comment in The News-Herald.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Many anxious for good news in 2014

Join with me now as we allow our minds to drift back one year.

It was almost the end of 2012, and the old year was being portrayed as an old guy with a long beard and a scythe. He was roundly hated because he had brought nothing good — at least, nothing worthwhile that anyone was aware of.

I am speaking now in very general terms, because I am able to find something of value — and something beautiful — every year since the day I was born, and that includes the years of the Great Depression, when everyone was moping around because things were so bad.

We were poor, but I never knew it because I went to school every day in clean clothes and with a full lunch pail and the entire bus smelled like grapes because every kid’s mother packed grapes in his lunch.

Why not? They were growing everywhere in Chesterland in those days.

But let’s get back to 2012. Question: Do we have to? Answer: Yes, because that is the subject I am addressing today.

As 2012 departed, the new year, 2013, was being depicted as a baby in diapers, possibly wearing a top hat. He was smiling. He was promising a great new year.

Those cartoon depictions are drawn by people who are called editorial cartoonists. They are mostly men. I have never heard of a female editorial cartoonist, but there probably is one somewhere, probably in Oregon or California.

That 2013 baby in diapers has become the old man with the scythe who is now departing in favor of the new baby dressed as 2014.

Does anyone think he is going to be better than 2013? I do — for one reason. To think that 2014 will be anything other than great would be to act in a grumpy fashion, and as I promised the lady of the house, I am not going to be grumpy any more.

I made that promise a week ago and I am good at keeping promises.

No matter what you and I think, however, I know a lot of people who can’t wait for 2013 to end, because the old year was one of heartache and despair.

I will provide you with an example: two dear friends, two of the nicest people I have ever known, who went through a miserable year and fervently hope that 2014 will not be anything like the year we are kissing goodbye in a couple of days.

You may know them. They are Wimp and Mary Ann Moyer, and they were very prominent in this area before retiring to Estero, Fla., a few years ago.

They were honored by the Chambers of Commerce in both Mentor and Painesville as distinguished citizens.

They paid their dues here, so to speak. Life in the Sunny South was going to be fun in the sun, golf almost every day and a daily dip in the pool that is enclosed in their house

They had a cute sign in the pool area. It advised visitors to “Enjoy our ool.”

In small letters it said: “You will notice there is no “p” in  it. Let’s keep it that way.”
But I digress.

In the fateful year, they took a holiday cruise that, in their words, “turned out to be a nightmare.”
In Aruba, Wimp fell and broke the femur with his hip replacement.

The vacation stop took place in a hospital. No health care insurance. No familiar surroundings. “Alone,” Mary Ann said, “and wondering how we were going to get home. It was a challenge.”

They made it back on a medical jet, and after three weeks in the hospital followed by two months in Life Care, they were finally home.

But the happiness didn’t last. After a few weeks, Wimp had a congestion that would not clear up. To make a long story short, an X-ray and a CAT scan revealed non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

He is undergoing treatments and they are looking forward with a positive attitude.

“We celebrated Christmas 2012, New Year’s 2013, Wimp’s 80th birthday and our 32nd anniversary in hospitals and Life Care,” Mary Ann said.

She added: “We are ready for a different and better 2014.”

So if you think you’ve got problems, think of the way 2013 treated Wimp and Mary Ann.

Thus as we look forward to the beginning of a new year, I hope you had a very Merry Christmas last week and that your New Year will be happy one.

Better days lie ahead — for the Moyers, for your family, for my family, and for all of our friends and loved ones.

I will say it once more — with feeling.

Happy New Year!


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