Wednesday, Apr 25, 2018
One of America's Great Newspapers ~ Toledo, Ohio

Mary Alice Powell

2004 was filled with bests, near and far

It's list time, and I have decided to do my own thing. Today is an excellent time to review 2004 and write a list of the best and the worst in my little corner of the world. Maybe you'd like to follow suit. It's fun and a good memory test.

I certainly agree with Time magazine's decision to name President Bush the person of the year. In fact, seeing the President and First Lady at SeaGate Convention Centre in October is the No. 1 highlight of my year. I discovered that my ticket was for an area without chairs, but nevertheless, I loved seeing the President and that pretty, sweet Laura. I would like to know their secret for continued upbeat vitality - I doubt that it's vitamins. It's just too bad the PA system wasn't better and that someone with technical ability didn't realize the intensity of the blinding lighting in Laura's face, to a point she had to hold her hands over her eyes as protection from the glare. It was embarrassing.

Moving right along to the rest of my Best and Worst List:

Best Day: My birthday anniversary, July 25. The older you get, the more grateful you are to wake up the morning of your birthday and shout "Yippee, let's go for it."

Best Christmas card: The one with Uncle Vance's return address. Dear Uncle Vance Daly Powell will celebrate his 97th birthday in March, and he's hoping we can take a European river cruise together. Maybe we can in 2005, if he promises to look after me.

Best Buy: My new car, Henry Maxwell, hands down. It got its name from the Rev. Sherry Schermbeck, St. Charles Mercy Hospital pastor, after I wrote asking readers for suggestions. Henry has kept me safe and warm, and only one ticket for speeding. But there have been two flat tires. My old car, Gladys, never in her life had a flat tire. I am told that when Michigan's back dirt roads are scraped, nails and screws pop up. There's a lesson here.

Best Travel Day: The day in April when we landed in Ireland aboard the ferry from Fishguard, Wale,s and were met by Michael Forestal, who for 10 days would drive us around the Emerald Isle. I want to go back for St. Patrick's Day. Next time I will climb to the top of the castle to kiss the blarney stone.

Best Event on the 2004 calendar: The marriage of my cousin, 81-year-old Muriel Perkins, to Roy Etter, also 81, on Sept. 2 proves love can bloom at any age. It is the first marriage for Muriel, a former missionary and schoolteacher. Roy, a widower, and Muriel were in the class of 1941 at Adrian High School and were reacquainted at a class lunch. Single seniors, there's a lesson in that. It was a beautiful wedding. My best wish for a great 2005 goes to them.

Best Extravagance: The $200 spent for a detoxification treatment at the Spa at the Ritz-Carlton in Puerto Rico. The new look didn't last long, but inches were lost.

Best Hotel: The Hotel Monaco in downtown Washington, within walking distance to the main attractions. The conversion of a former federal post office building into a classy hotel gives the visitor history in an elegant setting and, if you wish, a goldfish in your room for company.

Best Lesson: Learning that my Michigan waterfront home was not a hot item on the real estate market, and that "for sale by owner" is misspent effort and expectation.

Best Accomplishment: Driving to Florida with Digby without mishap, including traffic violations, and locating pet-friendly lodging, even for an additional $10 or $20.

Best News: That the skin cancer on my face could be cured.

Best Trip: To Seattle by plane, then to Los Angeles by train, and returning home by plane. It was the best journey because I planned it to combine a new adventure of an overnight train trip with spending time with special old friends in Seattle and Los Angeles.

Best Meal: The yellow fin tuna, prepared two ways, as sushi and also delicately sauteed in lemon and oil, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel at Los Cabos Beach, Mexico. Why this from the more than 1,000 meals of 2004? Because the tuna, all 13 of them, were caught by Betty and Dale Adams of Oak Harbor, and the Rev. James K. Say, pastor of St. Joseph's Church in Tiffin, in the Sea of Cortez that morning.

Best New Recipe: Appetizer wraps made with feta cheese and dried cranberries.

Best Christmas Gift: A full-size blanket is a cherished 2004 gift from longtime friends, not only because I can cuddle up in it on cold winter nights, but because it was handmade by three generations; Lottie Campbell and her daughter, Toni Walper of Jasper, Mich., and Toni's daughter, Amber Williams of Britton, Mich.

With so many "bests" in 2004, why try to think of "worsts"?

Happy New Year. My readers are definitely on "the best" list.

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