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Neighbor to Neighbor: 2000: A very good year, 2001: Maybe even better!

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When we met at first, there was an immediate understanding that our association would have to be brief, as it is with every year. It brought our area a wonderfully mild winter (at least, up until the last two days of the year!), and a spring and summer with precipitation plentiful enough to prevent water shortages. It also gave us the added advantage of keeping the summer from being overwhelmingly hot, and the autumn leaves were especially colorful.

Every season seemed to put its best root forward. There was a lot of hard work and good things accomplished, There were terrific, responsible people sharing the load and the laughter. Sometimes we shared each other's troubles and tears, but even (actually, especially) at those times, sharing made things seem a bit easier.

At almost the last moment before Year 2000 was to move out, it decided to leave us a remembrance gift - something beautiful that would keep us occupied as the departure took place. Snow! A white wonderland laden with mounds of pristine crystals; the ground cuddled under deep fluff.

When we had the first hint that the big storm or 2000 was on its way, my first thought was to wish it out to sea, or call on global warming to turn it into rain on the way down. As it worked out, however, it happened as it was meant to happen. It was still the Christmas season, so the wishes of the many who had dreamed of a white one, were answered.

Then, too, there were those of us who had languished too often and too long at party tables, adding, by some accounts, a pound or more for each or the 12 days of Christmas. Don't misunderstand. Each and every one was a great party: the Christ Lutheran School Anniversary Party; the Cornucopia Society's no-money bingo party for volunteers held at Troop Memorial the Presbyterian Church; the Chinese Auction at St. Pius X Roman Catholic Church; The Rosedale Lions Club Party; a few friends from the Rosedale Civic Association at a Chinese Buffet; the Times-Ledger office party; William Scarborough's "Thank You For Your Support" party at the very impressive Radisson JFK Hotel; the interesting tour of The French Culinary Institute and the pre-tour luncheon at the special L'Ecole Restaurant; and "A House Is A Home" Christmas party with some of my police friends and their families. Not to be outdone, even the Post Office Committee meetings had special refreshments, with the request to "Please eat everything."

In spite of the long list of attended parties, all the things I had previously planned for Friday, Dec. 22, precluded me from participating in the official opening of the new Laurelton Medical Center. I had been inquiring about that opening date since the summer because the building, with its glass roof, looked like a very welcome addition to our community. Actually, the day before, after applauding loudly and long for another wonderful Roberta Herdan's Holiday Show at PS 156, , followed by a meeting at the Jamaica Post Office, I dropped in for a look at the medical center. I got no further than the reception area because the caterers were beginning to set up for the events the following day. The reception area is spacious, restful looking and very professional. I plan to go back soon.

I am very grateful that I was able to share so many special events - some with family, some with friends and neighbors. We shared food for the body (sometimes more than we should), food for the spirit and the mind, and when we saw "The Night the Angels Sang," that was food that fed our souls! That was Christmas.

We greet 2001 with open arms (of course, in the hand of one of those arms is a large shovel!) When we shovel snow, the exercise is supposed to strengthen our muscles and bones and, hopefully, decrease at least a little of the extra party pounds...unless the hard work makes us so hungry that we overeat again!

Whatever comes, let's make the best or it and start off by wishing everyone a SAFE, HEALTHY, HAPPY AND PROSPEROUS 2001!

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