Saturday December 22, 2012

Bob Stannard

Do you believe that things happen for a reason?

It's nearing the time to bid farewell, sayonara, au revoir to 2012. Some might say good riddance. I should've known 2012 was trouble when we couldn't get our annual bonfire lit last New Year's Eve. That should've been a sign. So bye bye 2012:

In January, with much fanfare, Mark Zuckerberg took Facebook public.

The stock plummeted immediately. The presidential elections began in earnest.

In February, dwarfing Facebook's fanfare was the Diamond Jubilee celebration of Queen Elizabeth's 60 years on the throne. On Feb. 9 my vision split and I began seeing double. Feb. 13 I discovered I did not have a brain tumor. On Feb. 18 I was diagnosed with Type II diabetes. I weighed 230 lbs. Health news was dwarfed by the Greek debt crisis, which was trumped by the Arab Spring.

In March we learned that the iconic Encyclopedia Britannica would no longer be printed, thus eliminating the job of door-to-door encyclopedia salesman.

I remember when he stopped by our house in South Dorset. My dad bought the whole set, including the bookcase. They were red. I looked at them once; maybe twice. I wonder whatever happened to them. They'd be a collector's item now. On March 21 I met a Vietnamese practitioner of Chinese medicine.

After being told there was only a 75 percent chance my vision would come back, my vision came back March 26. I'd lost 17 lbs.

In April celebrating the 100th birthday of Kim Il-sung, North Korea launched an observation satellite, which immediately exploded. The world cheered.

The movie "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" was released. The world didn't cheer.

May 2nd Edvard Munch's painting, "The Scream," sold for a record $121 million. In Tokyo the public got to explore Skytree; the tallest, self-supporting tower in the world. It was announced that 13 percent of all Americans live in poverty and 42 percent of all homeless children are under six years old. I was down 42 pounds and no longer diabetic.

June witnessed the passing of Lonesome George; the last Pinta Island Tortoise rendering that species extinct. Speaking of extinct species, Donald Trump expressed anger at the U.S. Supreme Court, because it upheld Obamacare; possibly because his hair was not eligible. 17.4 million signatures in protest of nuclear power were delivered to the Speaker of the House in Tokyo.

July kicked off the summer Olympics in London. India experienced the worst power outage in history. A Buddhist wedding ceremony was held in our backyard for our son, Wesley, and his lovely Burmese bride, May Oo. My mother-in-law, Gloria Vickery, was diagnosed with cancer.

On Aug. 7, Tea Party backed Missouri candidate for U.S. Senate, Troy Akin, wins the Republican Primary. Aug. 19 he was asked in a TV interview if a woman who was raped should be allowed to have an abortion. He replied, "If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."

On Sept. 10 we celebrated the second anniversary of Thyra Grayce Hairston's birth; arguably the world's most wonderful granddaughter.

Sept. 24 the matriarch of the Vickery family, Gloria Vickery, lost her battle with cancer.

October: Rep. Michelle Bachmann appears on the cover of Newsweek. Newsweek announces it will no longer print the magazine after Dec. 31. Skydiver Felix Baumgartner jumps from a plane and breaks the sound barrier. Hurricane Sandy destroys New York and New Jersey, providing Gov. Chris Christie an opportunity to make amends for the hideous things he said about Obama at the Republican convention.

November: Refusing to accept au revoir and sayonara The Rolling Stones are back on tour. Keith Richards, clinically dead for approximately 10 years, is playing better than ever. Barack Obama handily defeats Mitt Romney to win his second term as President of the United States. Four days after Thanksgiving Norman Vickery; patriarch of the Vickery family, chose to join his bride of nearly 70 years in the hereafter. Wes and May Oo are having our first grandson in 2013.

And here we are in late December; a time when we look back and say goodbye to a year not unlike other years. It was a year that brought equal doses of joy and pain (perhaps more pain than usual for our family). There is always much to mourn and much to rejoice. Thanks to all of you who faithfully read this column. I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year.

So this is Christmas, and what have you done?

Another year over, and a new one just begun

And so this is Christmas I hope you have fun

The near and the dear one the old and the young

A very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Let's hope it's a good one without any fear

And so this is Christmas for weak and for strong

For rich and the poor ones the world is so wrong

And so Happy Christmas for black and for white

For yellow and red ones let's stop all the fight

War is over over If you want it

War is over Now - John Lennon

Bob Stannard lives in Manchester.