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Sidelines: 2013 another year to remember

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013 5:10 a.m. CST

Mrs. U.S.A. wants me to like her – at least on Facebook.

Then there was the old rock star who wanted to talk to me so badly, he called three times before he finally reached me.

Of course, it was to promote his upcoming concert at the Egyptian Theatre, but it still counts.

On the other hand, how can I forget the angry reader complaining about a story I did three years ago? I barely remember what I wrote three weeks ago, let alone three years.

Those were some of the more intersting things that happened to me in 2013, which should be just about over by the time you read this. When you look back, it’s amazing that of all the things that happen in a given year, a handful stand out and most are too insignificant to remember. To paraphrase Charles Dickens, 2013 was a time of profound moments, as well as quirky ones.

Like everyone else, I had my share of both.

2013 was the year I caught a cold from a Broadway actress, saw the third-best quarterback in the nation catch a touchdown pass, shaved my head to help a stranger and, thanks to one old friend, became reacquainted with another. I also attended the funeral of a man who was buried on his birthday, went to Door County to see fall foliage on the only October weekend that it rained, and attended Christmas Eve services at a Christian church that quoted Gandhi, a Hindu, while flashing humorous videos on an overhead screen.

Not a big science person, I made a few discoveries in 2013. The first was MacQueen Forest Preserve, just north of Kirkland. I had heard about it, but didn’t know where it was until I had to cover a story there. After several frustrating wrong turns, I found it hidden in a clump of trees on a deserted back road. Other discoveries included chocolate-covered bacon and bacon donuts, free comic book day and a Hinckley couple who had their second date 50 years after their first.

On the quirky side, I met “the face of American rugby” on the phone without actually seeing him, was avoided by a public relations director (whose job is to speak to the media), attended my first prom and high school reunion, and saw a flock of geese flying north in a snowstorm. To top if off, I saw a bat – as if on cue – fly over the head of a woman telling ghost stories at Elmwood Cemetery a few days before Halloween.

On the health front, I cut out a pizza ad that ran next to a newspaper story about the five healthiest foods, which didn’t include pizza. I lost a few pounds for health reasons, only to need surgery for something else, and I needed stitches when I cut my finger trying to prepare a healthy lunch. (I might be healthier sticking with pizza.)

My 2013 could probably be summed up by a bus trip I took to see the Cubs at Wrigley Field. As the game wore into extra innings, the little boy in me took over. Drifting from one section to another to get different views of the park, I ended up in the far left field corner. Although separated from my group, I figured I was safe so long as I could see the bus parked right outside the park.

Everything was fine until the 12th inning, when I looked up to see the bus slipping away. I dashed panicking back to my original section, which was pretty much vacant. Although common sense told me they wouldn’t leave without me, I didn’t know anyone on the trip so I wasn’t sure. Fortunately, a slightly-familiar-looking gentleman sitting by himself told me the others had either moved closer to the bus or gone to the restaurant across the street. At that moment, he may have been my best friend.

It was the year in a nutshell: I experienced something new, suffered a few anxious moments, realized the value of others, and everything turned out all right in the end.

May the same be said of every year. 

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