My pick for story(s) of the year 2016 has nothing to do with Donald Trump. I’m not a political person. Yes, I was stunned he became president of the U.S. but, so far, it hasn’t affected me personally. My life hasn’t changed and I’m trying hard to learn not to worry about things I can’t control. I can’t control the Donald or his mouth or his Tweets.
My picks for story(s) of the year start with the year of the obituary.
It seems I couldn’t pick up a paper, turn on the TV or read on the Internet that another famous person had died. And what a list.
From Hollywood, we said goodbye to Alan Thicke, Florence Henderson, Robert Vaughn, Ron Glass, Gene Wilder, Garry Marshall, Garry Shandling, Abe Vigoda (really. No hoax this time.), Dan Haggerty, Alan Rickman.
From music – to paraphrase Don McLean of American Pie fame – 2016 was the year the music died.
David Bowie, Glenn Frey, Prince, Vanity (a collaborator with Prince), Sir George Martin, Maurice White (Earth, Wind and Fire), Leonard Cohen, Merle Haggard, Leon Russell, Keith Emerson and Greg Lake – two-thirds of Emerson, Lake and Palmer – all gone.
From sports, can you get a bigger trifecta of superstar deaths than Muhammad Ali, Gordie Howe and Arnold Palmer, arguably the greatest athletes of all time in their respective sports?
At some point, all of those people made me laugh, smile or cry.
It was also a tough year, personally, as I lost some close friends and a couple of friends’ fathers who were very special.
Speaking of sports, the greatest story in 2016, for me, was the Chicago Cubs – at long last – winning the World Series. And what a Series it was against another organization trying to break a championship drought, the Cleveland Indians.
The Indians haven’t won the World Series in 68 years. The Cubs ended a 107 – 107! – year drought, rallying from 3-1 down in the series, and recovering from blowing a 6-3 lead in Game 7 to win in extra innings.
But my favourite story of the year involves a guy named Mike.
Mike was one of my college roomies in the dorms at BCIT and we hit it off instantly. We kept in touch after college but we lost contact in the late 1990s.
I had tried all avenues to find him but with a common last name like MacDonald, it’s not that easy. Last I knew, Mike was in Grande Prairie.
Our mutual friend Deb knew of my quest to find Mike. She messaged me saying she thought she saw him on an infomercial for a company on TV but wasn’t completely positive.
I watched the same channel the night she messaged me and sure enough, the infomercial ran again, and I had no doubt in my mind it was my long-lost friend. Luckily, I knew the woman who appeared in the infomercial with Mike, e-mailed her, and she confirmed it was him. Would she get a message to him for me?
Absolutely, she said. The next day, I heard from Mike. He’s been in – wait for it – West Kelowna for the last seven years.
He and I and Deb got together at a pub, had a few drinks, a million more laughs, and a friendship lost by life’s circumstances had been renewed. Mike and I got together over the summer and I met his lovely wife, Maria.
At this time of year, friends, family, health, laughs and love, and maybe the odd baked goodie, are all I need. And I have it all. Merry Christmas, everyone.
Here’s to a memorable 2017.