As I sit here typing this at the office, which we returned to after a lengthy Christmas break, it's the middle of the afternoon on New Year's Eve, December 31.
I just learned about an hour ago that legendary comedian and actor Betty White has died at the age of 99. She would've turned 100 years old on January 17, but alas, it was not to be. I can't help but feel that 2021 just *had* to get in one more terrible lick before we waved goodbye to it in a handful of hours. Betty was a hell of a talent who transcended generations. I'll miss her terribly.
I have to say that I really enjoyed my Christmas season, and I'm actually rather shocked by that fact. If you'd asked me in July or August about the impending holidays, I'd have completely ducked the topic or quickly changed the subject. Christmas was something that my mom was intimately involved in, whether it was planning gifts, meals, or any number of incredible surprises that she was capable of pulling off. She just had a gift for making every year special in its own way. With that in mind, we knew that having our first Christmas without her would be heartbreaking, and while it certainly was, it was also pretty darn good and served as something of a tribute to her.
Saturday, December 11 was a night that I'll remember for a long time, as I got together with my closest friends in Saskatoon for a night of food, drinks and comradery. To any outside observer looking in, it appeared to be nothing more than a group of people sitting around joking and drinking, but to me it meant so much more than that. I'd been hoping to get everyone together for months, to be honest, but the time just never seemed to sync up right. When I realized December had finally arrived, I figured it was a 'now or never' sort of situation. As we talked, joked, and drank the evening away, it hit me how much I needed this. I needed a night with my closest friends to laugh, smile, and continue moving forward. I got it, and I'm happy with that.
A week later, my brother Brendon and I were back up in the city at my brother Perry's, where we ate supper that was heavily influenced by Mom, including Perry's attempt at making her world-famous dinner buns and Brendon and I bringing up a few of her incredible cabbage rolls. Supper was great, as was the night out with our other siblings and nieces.
The rest of my Christmas was pleasant, being surrounded by family at a time when I knew I had to be. We were out at my uncle Dale and aunt Lois's on Christmas Eve, followed by spending Christmas Day up at my niece Carly's in Saskatoon. I think our other family members knew that this year would be tough on us, and for us to be included in their celebrations was something that I'll always be grateful for. Good food, good drinks, good times, great people. What more can you really ask for?
I would be remiss if I didn't mention the utterly amazing Winter Wonderland down in the Outlook & District Regional Park. I got to spend my last evening of work before our Christmas break down there taking photos and shooting video, and I was simply blown away. Evidently, the thought process by everyone was, 'OK, how do we top last year, and how do we go bigger and better?' Hats off to everyone involved, and for next year's (this year's, technically...?) event, I already have an idea that could possibly add to the overall atmosphere. You know how you might pull up to a house that's decorated to the nines, and it tells you to turn your FM radio dial to a specific channel to hear Christmas tunes, effects and such? I wonder if that could be done in the park? What I'm thinking is that businesses and organizations could be canvassed for advertising, and little radio spots could be produced that would air along with holiday music and so forth. Think it could be pulled off? I'll do some research in the weeks and months ahead on this one...
So then, a new year is upon us. 2022. It makes you think of the possibilities, doesn't it? But then again, doesn't every year do that? Well, let's look into the crystal ball and see what could be happening over the next twelve months...
(FYI: these aren't necessarily predictions and these aren't necessarily facts, they're simply things I could see taking place)
A decision will finally be made on the fate of the abandoned SkyTrail walking bridge in Outlook. Now, whether that decision is a positive or negative one remains to be seen, but I do think with other infrastructure-related projects on the go, it's only a matter of time before That Which We Do Not Speak is finally referenced and a solution possibly tackled. If only there was a viable way to save it.
Outlook will continue looking towards the future as new means of prosperity will make their way through town. More events will be planned to draw people out, more businesses will pop up, and everyone will continue keeping an eye on the gargantuan irrigation project set to take place near the community in the coming years. Everyone has a chance at solid growth, but by being the biggest town around, Outlook will certainly stand taller than most in that regard.
The Outlook road sign will continue to reside in the ditch coming into town off the traffic bridge. It's been on the ground almost a full year now, so what's another twelve months or so? (sorry, I had to take that shot!)
Whatever happens, I just hope the new year is a good one for everyone. It's high time we have some consistent positivity, so we'll see what happens in the time ahead.
All the best to you and yours, and we'll see you in 2022.
For this week, that's been the Ruttle Report.