Feeling Good To Be Back

Susan Page
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Wednesday - January 03, 2007
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To be honest, I’m happy to see 2006 in my rear-view mirror. Byebye, so long, farewell, sayonara and aloha.

2007, come on down.

2006 brought some interesting challenges, to say the least. I look forward to a clean new calendar filled only with hope and a few good holidays.

In case you didn’t notice, this is my first column after a six-month hiatus. I do know a few of you have missed this page. Even after 13-plus years as a columnist, it’s still a pleasant shock when folks approach me with an “I miss your column” or “When are you going to be back in MidWeek?”

In part, those remarks helped kick start my return to writing. To recap, ‘06 was a year punctuated by a series of unfortunate events: Mother died suddenly, then the day after her funeral, my husband Jerry had a big heart attack and bypass surgery. Then my son Kyle, a jet pilot, was brutally assaulted and almost lost his vision (and career), and the very next morning my mother-in-law Patsy, who was like a mom to me, died. All in six weeks!

It was like a bad country-western song.

I knew things could only get better, and Thanksgiving brought a big “up” after so many “downs”: my daughter Joy’s wedding in Washington, D.C. She asked me and stepdad Jerry to walk her down the aisle, which was both joyful and tearful.

More good news: Jerry has fully recuperated and son Kyle, after eye surgery, has too (a trial is pending for his attacker). And though I lost my moms to heaven, I gained a terrific new son-in-law.

After filing a column almost every week for 13-and-a-half years, it was strange to see those deadlines come and go without spell checking the copy, then hitting send to the editors. Evidently being opinionated is a hard habit to break. So I bit my pencil (or in this case, my wireless mouse) during the elections, the scandals, the rail hearings, the homelessness issues, and at the hateful speech hurled between political parties. I was silent as our outstanding troops in Iraq and Afghanistan continued to honor our country by their sacrifice even as some politicians and celebrities demeaned them as losers with no other options but to join the military.

I didn’t write when the terror attacks of 9-11 made five years old without any further attacks on our country. Neither did I comment on World HIV/AIDS Day and the prediction of 18 millions AIDS orphans - yes, 18 million - by 2010 in sub-Saharan Africa alone. (That number is down from 45 million because it is presumed 27 million children in the earlier statistic will have died by then).

Nor did I write about a Christmas party I went to which artist Peggy Chun attended. She has ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) and can only move her eyeballs now. On the way to the restaurant in the Handi-van the battery for her breathing machine went out. It took hours and a miracle for her to get there, but she arrived - dressed in a Penguin costume.

As I think of it, years always seem to balance out with births and deaths, joy and sorrow, tragedies and triumphs. For me, the 2006 story had a happy ending, but many live with sorrow, poverty and death every day (a fact made clear to me in in Africa.) As humans we share a common feeling: hope. The Christmas message, our deployed troops, the orphans in Africa, and Peggy Chun are beautiful reminders of that hope.

A new year brings hope for a “do-over.” We can resolve to be better citizens and make our voices heard in this greatest democracy on earth. We can pay attention to the plight of orphans in the Third World. We can be even more grateful for our freedoms as we see the horrors wrought by terrorists and their determination to bring violent death to anyone who disagrees with their ideology. We can be more worthy of the sacrifice our fighting men and women - and for Christians, our savior - have made for us.

If 2007 is anything like the last 14 years, I will never have a shortage of topics - or strong opinions about them. It’s nice to be back.

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