For the last column of a year, and of a decade, it seems proper to come up with a list of positive things in my little corner of the world.
First up: Seven weeks into her marriage, my daughter Audrey seems happy. Given all the work that went into her wedding, she’d better be.
In fact, all of the Ryan children are doing fine. Audrey and Zach live in Memphis, where she is looking for a job. John is still in Houston, Texas. Thomas is in New Orleans and on track to start a new job as a data analyst for Ochsner in January.
Since Mary Ann and I were traveling to my cousin Laura’s house in Metairie for the Christmas holiday, John coaxed us down on Christmas Eve by paying for a room at the Pontchartrain Hotel on St. Charles Avenue.
The three of us, along with Thomas and his girlfriend Kayla, went to dinner Tuesday night and then visited the hotel’s rooftop bar, which offers an incredible view of the city.
I have to admit, it’s a great day when your kids start picking up the hotel bill.
Of course, Christmas had to have a little drama, but it did not occur until we got back to McComb that night.
As we rounded a curve on Westview Circle, a dog scampered out of the street. No problem there — except it was one of our two dogs.
Sunshine followed my car into the garage and was very excited to see us. Mary Ann took a tour of the backyard and found the hole under a fence where she dug her way out. This has not happened in years. My best guess is she wondered where we had been and decided to start looking for us.
Also on the list of positive things is work.
Times are tough, but I do realize that it could be worse. The newspaper is still alive, kicking and making some money — as opposed to stores like Fred’s and J.C. Penney, which closed this year.
I’ve said this before, but I think the American economy is in the very early stages of a massive upheaval. The good news is that when this has happened in the past, the country has always come out stronger, with more opportunities and jobs.
It’s hard to see positives when iconic brands like Penney’s and Sears are fading away. But I’m going to have a little faith in the future. Otherwise, what’s the point?
The Enterprise-Journal, in fact, is in the very early stages of rolling out an internet marketing program that will give local businesses new ways to get in touch with their customers. I suspect one of the sales objections we’ll have to overcome is that the businesses won’t expect this kind of stuff from a newspaper.
But we either go where the customers are, or we go away. I am up for the challenge, even though this eventually will change everything we do. For now, the task will be to juggle our print products with our online products. One step at a time and we’ll get there.
Finally, two positive things on a totally personal level.
I am so pumped about how well the New Orleans Saints have played this year. It’s disappointing that if we beat Carolina, and if both San Francisco and Green Bay win on Sunday, we will finish with a 13-3 record but miss a first-round bye in the playoffs.
Not to worry: The Saints have a better record on the road this year than at home. So if we have to hit the road, it’s not panic time.
And then there is Joan Blondell, the actress who was the Turner Classic Movies star of the month for December.
This was great because I’ve been able to watch several of her movies. Some of them were just OK, but Blondell was good in every one of them.
She was a star at Warner Bros. in the 1930s, making up to 10 movies a year with performers like James Cagney. Her best role was with him in 1931’s “Blonde Crazy.”
Later in her career she was a fine character actress, and I finally got to watch her this week in “The Cincinnati Kid,” with Steve McQueen and Edward G. Robinson. What a fun movie.
One last thought: Is Tuesday really the end of the decade? Or does it end on Dec. 31, 2020?
You can make a case either way. 2010 to 2019 sounds better than 2011 to 2020. But when you count to 100, you always start with 1. That implies the 21st century would be from 2001 to 2100.
That’s heavy stuff for a New Year’s weekend. But whichever decade suits you, I hope your 2020 is a good year.