Are you glad 2013 is almost over? It seemed to zoom by faster than any year before it. Many older friends suggest that tends to happen with each passing year. Some of us dwell so much in the past, we neglect to live in the present. I definitely remember some of the "good old days" and those moments often bring hearty laughs along with mostly fond memories.
I spent a few minutes recently taking inventory of this year's columns. I tried to specifically zero in on those that seemed to evoke a reaction or elicit the most emails. Writing this column, which is now a part of who I am, is challenging. It's also intriguing to see what topics resonate with readers. Invariably, it seems to have very little to do with how inspired or well-written the composition is. It appears to have everything to do with the topic.
Not sure where I saw it, but this quote always causes me to stop and reflect:
"Success is not what one brings, but what one leaves."
Since reflection is often what we're supposed to do when one year changes to the next, here's some of what was left for you in this space in 2013.
There definitely were some individuals who seemed to connect with our readers. People like former Burke Athletic Director Modie Risher, who once played opposite Jackie Robinson in the Negro Leagues. In addition, telling people about James Island's Bobby Carpenter and his days in Vietnam as a tunnel rat caused some folks to further admire his bravery.
Whether it was retired school teacher Willis Sanders' love of art or Georgetown artist John Walters, who lost everything in the fire on Front Street, their stories were like little refrigerator magnets attaching themselves to unknown members of The Post and Courier family throughout the Lowcountry.
The column that focused on the Walterboro Band helping a wrecked bus full of band students from Ohio went viral. That bus just happened to crash on Interstate 95 near the Walterboro exit. The community wrapped its arms around folks they'd never even met and helped them get back to their families. Chillicothe, Ohio, is about as unknown as say, Walterboro, South Carolina, but they know each other now.
For our next topic
Some of the most popular columns, though, were not about the interesting people who live among us, but about stuff that just "is." Does that make sense? Stuff that's just right in front of us, but we need a gentle nudge to spark the observation and then the conversation.
Topics like "do we really need the penny anymore?" Or "where can we find the best boiled peanuts"?
Barely a month ago, I was inundated with readers who also shared my taste for rice - morning, noon or night.
And who knew that a mere mention of "who carries a pocketknife these days" or "whatever happened to fireflies" would cause us to stop our crazy lives for a few seconds and ponder those hardly life-changing questions?
So that's some of what I brought this year. I'm not always sure if there's overwhelming approval of what was left.
As we head to 2014, we'll meet a few more of the people who make the Lowcountry what it is. We might also stumble upon a few more topics that help us appreciate who we are, warts and all.
It's no time to dwell on the past and certainly no reason to live in it. It's not even necessary to close the book, let's just turn the page.
Reach Warren Peper at firstname.lastname@example.org.