Submitted for your approval, as Rod Serling of “Twilight Zone” fame used to say, some thoughts as the year comes to a close and another approaches.
* Twelve months ago, as a tumultuous 2016 logged its final days in preparation for an arguably crazier 2017, we in the Ohio Valley were remarking about how warm and wet the weather had become, to the point that some people joked about celebrating their Christmas with the air conditioning pressed back into service. It was actually the beginning of the mildest winter we’d seen in some time, with little or no snowfall and the arrival of spring offering little excitement as the warmth to which we’d become accustomed continued.
We’re now entering the second week of a cold snap that speaks to the chillier days of late January into February. Little snow to go with it yet, but the impression that winter is here and will stay for a few months is rather strong. I know I’ve been spoiled by more relaxed and gradual introductions to wintry conditions, but only because it’s felt more keenly by myself as another birthday makes itself known, and a daily regimen of medications including a single baby aspirin keeps the blood thin and the skin surface cooler when it leaves the confines of a warm house.
It’s not really worth lamenting. It’s all part of the process of living and means you have to get to used to it, helped along by your medicine and all of that warmer clothing that may have been a part of your Christmas experience. It’s also tough to stifle that desire to go out for a walk on those afternoons when the shadows cast by the sun become longer and more mood-inspiring. But when it’s only in the teens with no immediate prospect of the outside temperature gaining any strength, then get the indoor exercise equipment ready or settle in with some good reading or some other kind of activity.
Hopefully, there remains plenty of evidence that the cold will moderate some and you’ll find that old ice scraper when frost covers the car in the morning. Despite the fact I’ve owned several vehicles since the day I bought a combination winter weather piece with a brush at Speedway (then SuperAmerica) around 1983 to remove ice from the windows, it remains in service. Guess some things really do last.
* Does anyone even bother to make resolutions for the new year anymore? If you do and are even determined to keep them, then more power to you. Personally, I know myself too well at this stage to bother. Last year I made some kind of half-hearted decision to write more stuff for my old movie blog, to top the number of entries I produced in 2016, only to find the total for 2017 is the same.
It’s not that I’ve run out of classic (and not so classic) cinema to watch. Quite the contrary, to answer the question once posed by Facebook friend and former co-worker Melissa Russell Blank, who inquired some time ago if there was anything left I HADN’T seen. It’s just that I found I’ve tried to make my blogs more about quality than quantity — as good an excuse as any, I suppose, but that reach for quality requires a bit more work and research than simply spouting an opinion, and thus, results in fewer essays in number. But I guess a little over two dozen per year isn’t bad.
My reluctance at setting resolutions may also be due to having met or tried to meet the usual things that people propose to do in the new year. I quit smoking nearly a dozen years ago, I don’t eat as much as I once did (although my weight stubbornly hovers around the same level) and giving up pop isn’t even on the radar, despite the contention it’s akin to tobacco on the what’s-bad-for-you list. I don’t drink that much pop, opting instead for coffee and tea, while a glass of cool water does more to satisfy thirst than anything else I know.
More agreeable and within reach is the resolve to exercise and enhance good health in the coming year, which can be achieved simply and without fuss. Even a good walk — provided it ever warms up enough to take one — provides benefits to the body that may not be readily seen, but are all for the good anyway.
At the end of the day, it’s not hard to make a resolution. It’s just following through on it that’s the challenge. And perhaps I will resolve to be less preachy-sounding in this space as 2018 plays out.
* Speaking of which, I want to take this opportunity to thank Beth Sergent and the powers that be at OVP for allowing me to contribute something to the weekend editions. It’s been almost a year since I began submitting these pieces and I hope it has been enjoyed by the readers. For myself, I welcome the challenge it offers to whatever skills I may possess and the chance to engage, both locally and otherwise, on the topics that are discussed.
Most gratifying is the permission to write about anything I want to, and while my key goal is to inform, it’s also allowed me to advocate for issues and organizations that I believe need the promotion. The fact that some of the things I pushed for didn’t meet with success, or came out of budget negotiations and the ballot box in reduced circumstances has to be expected, but allows for further discussion in the arena of ideas that constitute an editorial page. I’m just glad I could be of some help and hope to do so again as the year changes.
No one said I had to produce a column every week, but once started on this course I found I had to be, in the words of the late OVP Publisher Robert L. Wingett, consistent as a local voice. Sometimes the ideas for a column aren’t there as the new week begins, while other times there’s enough inspiration for an entire month of scribbling, but it has been a pleasure to serve the readers in this manner. And to all of the people who have kindly complimented me on this column, I say thank you. Your thoughts and enjoyment keep it, and me, going back to the keyboard every week, which I look forward to doing throughout 2018.
And to all, a very Happy New Year.
Kevin Kelly, who was affiliated with Ohio Valley Publishing for 21 years, resides in Vinton, Ohio.