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MARTHA SEZ: 2018. Best year ever?

December 22, 2017
By MARTHA ALLEN , Lake Placid News

"2018 will be the best year of your life!"

I was wrapping little presents in tissue paper and tying them with red grosgrain ribbon for a man and a woman, a couple, at the store where I work when the man, out of the blue, apropos of nothing, made this prediction for me.

He was expansive about it, enthusiastic, gesturing with his arms out to his sides in a way that made me think he was French, although he spoke English with no particular accent. I don't mean to imply that he was waving his arms around in that Anglo Saxon stereotype of the French, either, because he wasn't. It was more subtle then that.

I haven't mentioned yet that both the man and the woman were attractive. I can still see them clearly in my mind's eye. Her hair was blond and curly, and his was dark and cut well. I am at a loss to explain to you how his hair looked. Not long, not short, just stylish. His haircut was not one you would ordinarily see on a person in Keene, New York.

Montreal, I thought. They are from Montreal.

When he said that 2018 will be the best year of my life-announced it, really-I was taken aback. I stopped cutting ribbon and stood there dumbstruck, like a stereotypical Anglo Saxon, as a thought hit me.

"Well, if 2018 will be the best year of my life, that means it will be a great year for a lot of people!"

Of course, I was willing to take his word for it. At that moment, I believed his spontaneous prediction implicitly, without reservation, the way people are apt to accept pronouncements from Gypsy fortune tellers or newspaper horoscopes or Chinese fortune cookies, anything pertaining to themselves. If the information comes out of left field, all the better.

I was thinking, as I have been thinking, endlessly, about my daughter and her family in Southern California. Even when I don't realize that they are on my mind, they are. They live in Ventura County, where the Thomas fire has been raging for weeks. I have watched videos of mountainsides on fire, like visions of hell or a battle scene from "Star Wars." Less dramatic but maybe more to the point now, they are living with smoke, breathing wildfire smoke. Sometimes my daughter, Molly, takes the little ones, Emma and Jack, to the beach, where the winds are blowing the smoke away, and they can breathe better for a while. A friend of mine tells me that California hopes to have the fires contained late this week. That is what is passing now for good news.

In the words of Alfred E. Neuman, "What, me worry?" To give you some idea, I have been binge watching "Breaking Bad" on Netflix. Usually I can't stand to watch anything suspenseful or violent, but somehow it seems to help.

So, if 2018 is a great year for me, that means it will be a great year for my daughter and her husband and their children, and, by extension, the whole state of California.

The man with the good haircut knew what I meant.

"Yes," he said. "Because we are all interconnected"

As he appeared to muse about this, his wife-I think she was his wife-looked tired. Very pretty, but tired, as if perhaps she would like to buy these presents and have them wrapped and get back on the road.

The red ribbon is nice, but it tends to fray when I cut it because the scissors are getting dull. Remind me to bring in sharp scissors. I tried to hurry.

I am still thinking about it, the ways we are connected.

I think of myself, my friends and family and the people I work with, and all of the things that concern us, the people we love, our homes, our pets, credit card debt, health, and on and on. I am thinking about our government and our place in the world. Our planet.

All right, you guys, for this to be my best year coming up, we are all going to have to pull together. We are going to have to be kind to each other and try to make things right. For this to be my best year ever, we have a big job ahead of us!

Happy birthday, Baby Jesus. I hope that 2018 will be your best year ever, too.

Have a wonderful Christmas!



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