Happy New Year
It's all just a random lottery of meaningless tragedy and a series of near escapes. So I take pleasure in the details. You know a quarter-pounder with cheese, those are good, the sky about 10 minutes before it starts to rain and I sit back and I smoke my Camel Straights and I ride my own melt.
As everybody gets back to work (and away from our in-laws) this week, life begins to return to normal.
And for some of us, work feels more like a vacation than the holidays -all that traffic; what to buy? For whom? Are we done yet?
Most of that 9/11 "perspective" had worn off, while economic reality set in.
It seems like fewer people are returning to their jobs or classrooms with those excited "what'd YOU get?" exclamations this year.
(Many are just glad to be returning to a job at all.)
I can't speak for the rest of you, but most of my friends and family were on a budget-and, in some ways, that's what made our holidays together more special, and not in that made-for-Lifetime/Susan Lucci as "Ebbe" Scrooge kinda way either.
For a change, we had to think, instead of just blindly spending (more, better, bigger, faster!!).
And yet, none of us gave each other handprints in plaster of paris, or really painful attempts at origami, or hand-crocheted toilet paper doilies.
The best part of the holidays this year was the extra time I got to spend with people I love-some of whom I rarely see.
And my favorite gifts were small, thoughtful, and perfectly executed.
My friend Phoef found me a Barbie purse (filled with candy), accompanied by a couple of six-packs of baby Cokes (in the 10 oz. bottles). Which resulted in the perfect White Trash Christmas breakfast!
A colleague came in during his week off to give me a Japanese prosperity plant (and what busy office doesn't need one of THOSE?).
My college roommate gave me a set of Eastern good-luck candles for my office mantle (to inspire work) and gardening goodies (to inspire my home). She said, "I really tried to find things you were passionate about," and she did.
A wingman gave me gift certificates for the Kentucky Theatre, so we can see all our favorite movies together (none of which include In the Bedroom).
Admittedly, another year came and went without a 1967 Shelby GT 500 under the Reeves tree-but unfulfilled fantasies help keep us all going.
I know, at least according to the K-Mart ads and most of Madison Avenue, that the true meaning of the holidays-and being a good American-meant spending more this year.
And as a small business owner, certainly I should be the first to sign on for that rhetoric.
But this year, I just didn't find it to be true. Our celebrations were modest but heartfelt.
And they left me optimistic about 2003.
I made a new friend, a Lexington native, at a holiday dinner party who recently emailed me from New Mexico with an encouraging thought, "Lexington's downtown scene mirrors what's happened in Albuquerque over the years, but we've finally been able to dig our way out of it....mostly by taking the initiative OUT of government and creating a 'Downtown Action Team' which brought in private money; formed a 'business improvement district' and jump-started many many projects."
He said it's important to see a"local gadfly stirring the pot," and reminded me "it needs constant vigilance."
I think what Paul was saying is the problems we have aren't going to be solved by waiting around for elections. We have to roll up our sleeves, and continue slogging it out in the trenches.
So Happy New Year from us and ours to you and yours. We're all excited about what 2003 will hold for Lexington.
And as for that extra 10 pounds you're so worried about, relax. You wear it well.
Find pleasure in the details.
-Rhonda Reeves, editor/publisher