As 2011 came to an end, it’s traditional for journalists to review the most important new items of the past year. On New Year’s Eve, our local newspapaer, published its annual list of the top ten Southern Indiana news stories. The closure of a major bridge across the Ohio River, the Floyd County prosecutor’s removal from a controversial murder trial case, and the failure to renew a local School District’s Superintendent’s contract all topped the list.
The impact of these stories on the day-to-day lives of local residents, however, is debatable. Some things like the bridge closure might be important for many of us, but other stories probably have little, if any, relevance. Perhaps a more useful endeavor would be to examine the top stories for smaller groups, such as specific families. The paper said that “It was a year of stops and starts for Southern Indiana”. Likewise it was a year of ups and downs for the Stawar family. To that end below are the top ten news items impacting the Stawar family for 2011.
Top Ten Stawar News Stories of 2011
#10. Granddaughter Signs up for Basketball Team Again, Hoping She Will Actually Make a Basket this Year: Our middle granddaughter signed up to play basketball in a church league next year. In 2011 was she was a rookie and it was very rough. She never made a single basket all year (including in practice). This year it looks like she’ll be able to finally sink a few. Stawar athletic hopes spring eternal.
#9. Cat-tastrophy, Family Feline Trapped in Spare Bedroom for Four Days. This summer we went on a short trip and planned to leave our cat, Claus, at home. Just before we left Claus snuck into the spare bedroom that we had set up as a home office. The door was shut, not knowing that he was hiding in there. For four days the cat did not have access to his litter box or food and water. Claus somehow survived the ordeal in fine physical shape. For some reason, however, he chose to do all his business on the office chair, saving the carpet, but totaling the chair.
#8. Family Dispute over Purchase of a Male American Girl Doll for Grandson. In anticipation of a trip to the Mecca of the American Girl doll phenomena, the American Girl Doll Store in Chicago, we bought our four year-old grandson, a male American girl doll. More than secure in his masculinity, he liked Mac, but this did not sit well with all family members.
#7. Gutter Finally Cleaned: One Stawar highlight took place on the 365th day of 2011 when the front gutter was finally cleaned. When the house was last appraised, the report noted that gutter needed to be cleaned and mentioned that there appeared to be a tree growing in it. My wife Diane risked her life to do all the difficult work, precariously perched upon a wobbly ladder. My job was to anchor the ladder and dodge the gutter debris that routinely missed the bucket.
#6. Stawars, All Toilet-Trained at Last: 2011 saw the culmination of the successful, but rather excruciating toilet training of our fourth and youngest grandchild. Along with the changing table, the highchair also bit the dust this year. As she will readily tell you, she’s a big girl.
#4. Unnamed Stawar Relative Eligible to have Record Expunged in March: The family also learned this year that enough time has passed that one family member (whose name is being withheld) will be eligible to have his or her record expunged, finally yielding a completely clean slate.
#3. Backyard Brush Pile Depleted, Homeless Snakes Despondent: After months of diligent effort, the pile of yard trash, brush, and branches, I foolishly placed near the house, receded. The pile had become a habitat for a variety of terrifying creatures, including a large snake that we discovered sunning itself on the hand railing on our back porch.
#2. Spelling Bee Winner Starts Texting: This year our 10 year-old granddaughter received a cell phone for Christmas and immediately started practicing her “tween” texting skills. Her older uncles seem very annoyed at her frequent, “What are you doing?” texts and incessant demands for a response.
#1. Stawars: Beached Again: Finally, a major tragedy struck in the summer of 2011, when the 90 horsepower Mercury outboard motor, on the Stawar Pontoon boat, threw a rod, effectively dry-docking the “Kokomo” for the rest of the season, as well as the foreseeable future. Operator error is suspected and highly probable.
Based on a column appearing inthe Southern Indiana News-Tribune