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Skippy’s Chokecherries – Ringing in the new year in the nation’s icebox

Oh, hello there, 2018.
I didn’t see you come in, probably because I was turning up the thermostat and plugging in the car.
You left the back door open, by the way.
Not wide open. Just a crack; but still enough to let 2017 slip through and skulk quietly away; unobserved and un-missed; into the dark, cold, snowy prairie night.
You sure picked a heck of a cold snap to make your appearance. We all love living here in the nation’s heartland, but sometimes these temperature extremes can get on a guy’s nerves. It hardly seems fair that the nation’s oven in summer is also the nation’s icebox in winter.
I see you’ve already kicked off your boots and helped yourself to the turkey leftovers. Looks like you’re intending to stick around for a while; like about a year.
No, you can’t borrow some money. 2017 already took a big bite out my bank account.
Yeah, now that you mention it, things are pretty quiet around here. I know most folks made a big deal about your arrival on New Year’s Eve. No doubt you crashed some pretty memorable parties that evening.
But don’t expect to find that kind of silliness here. When you get on the shady side of 60-ish like me, the novelty of staying up till midnight just isn’t as much of a draw as it used to be. Besides, I knew you’d be here on schedule when I woke up again on January 1.
And anyway, I’ve seen your kind of transient visitor before.
You breeze in like an election campaign, promising big things but delivering on none. In the first few weeks, we’re polite and deferential. You’re new here. We understand that. All the bad things we’re complaining about were here long before you arrived. It’s not your fault.
We continue to cut you some more slack through February and March because the days are getting longer. Then the hockey playoffs start and our attention is momentarily diverted. By the time summer rolls around everybody’s hanging out at the lake and nobody’s calling you at the office.
Then suddenly, it’s fall, and reality once again hits us like a hammer.
But by then, you’re already more than halfway through your tenure anyway and on the verge of retirement. Any unfinished business simply gets passed on to your successor, 2019, who even now is waiting, full of optimism and new resolutions, in the wings.
I hope you’re a little easier on us than 2017 was. Just a suggestion, but maybe ease up on the prices at the gas pump and dial back the Trump twitter-machine a bit.
It shouldn’t be too hard to make a better impression than 2017, that so-called sesquicentennial.
2017 was all hype and very little substance. Any year that sees the government in Ottawa spend millions of dollars on a Canada 150 outdoor rink on Parliament Hill that prohibits hockey is hardly a good example for young Canadians.
Oh, and I know you can hardly wait for summer so you can drop by your friendly neighbourhood pot cafe for a legalized toke.
But maybe it would be a good idea to get some rules in place first. Just saying.

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