| G. Michael Dobbs
Wait a minute, it’s almost 2018?
When did that happen?
It’s my yearly wake-up call, my realization that another year is over and one looms large just around the corner.
Yes, it’s a cliché to say that as you become older time seems to go faster, but in my case, I can attest it’s true.
And now the pressure for resolutions will begin. It’s time to look at what you did or did not do and promise to yourself what you will accomplish in the next year.
So did I accomplish enough this past year? Did I learn enough this past year? Let’s see:
• I learned that motivating voters in an election year without a presidential, gubernatorial or mayoral race is a frustrating and daunting task. The turnout in the Springfield city council race proved that.
• The lesson was reaffirmed that the American people can be incredibly generous in times of natural disasters, which is a good thing as we are probably going to have a greater number of them thanks to climate change.
• I learned that unfortunately greed can conquer common sense, such in the case of the Keystone Pipeline in South Dakota, which suffered a major oil spill after many reassurances such an event would not happen.
• I learned that some people are willing to make huge assumptions. The criticism that a “sex positive store” in East Longmeadow would draw some sort of criminal deviant was repeated at public meetings but without any proof.
• I learned that some people cannot imagine changes in their community, despite the demands of reality. In Hampden, it’s the issue of the decrease of students that are causing changes in the school district, while in Longmeadow the fate of the Brewer-Young mansion. I also learned that cold facts do really matter for some people.
• I learned that texting is actually not the best substitute for talking with someone.
• I learned that in an overwhelmingly Democratic state, a Republican governor could win the most admired title of all of his 49 contemporaries.
• I learned that despite the referendum, no one wants recreational pot sold in his or her community. Officials in Chicopee, Springfield, East Longmeadow, Longmeadow and Wilbraham have made it clear – and in some cases the voters have as well – that marijuana is not welcome. Only Holyoke appears to be welcoming it.
• I learned that there continues to be a real disconnect between what is actually happening in Springfield versus the perception some people have for the City of Homes. There are many good things happening in my hometown.
• I’ve learned that one can never be too politically correct – even so I am still cynical, swear too much and smoke cigars, none of which is “correct.”
• Once again this fat man learned that no one makes fries like my buddy City Jake or a Southwest Steak wrap like A.C. Produce, or pastries like Bob’s Bakery, or Asian cuisine as Tao’s.
• I learned the gym is my friend.
People ask news folks about predictions for the next year. Kreskin I’m not. My Magic Eight Ball isn’t the best for seeking the future, but I shook it up pretty well for the following statements:
• Bolo ties will be sweeping the nation as a fashion statement for both men and women.
• MGM Springfield will not see a single gambling dollar from me. I’ll be at the movie theaters on a regular basis, though.
• The next fad in retail – remember frozen yogurt? – will be baked potato stores. Buy the potato, load it up with butter, sour cream, and bacon and your price is determined by weight.
• City Councils will fight with mayors, but yet pose gladly with each other for grip and grin photo opportunities.
Remember, you read it here first.