And I’m very likely sipping a coffee, trying to ignore my bickering children (tired from a week of grandparental indulgence) and trying in vain to come up with a New Year’s resolution that I can break and not feel guilty about.
Deep River is down in the Ottawa Valley, halfway between North Bay and Ottawa. As far as I’m concerned, the Valley is the place Adam and Eve got themselves kicked out of. Northern Ontario comes a close second for me.
Writing this late last week, I’m struck by the realization it’s been a decade since I’ve been home for Christmas. That’s a long time. And the more I consider that, in a day or so, I’ll be sitting by the Christmas tree in my boyhood home, the more my anticipation for the holiday grows.
I didn’t really make a Christmas list, but if I were to sit down and pen something (which, I guess, is what I’m doing right now), there are a few things I would want Santa to leave beneath the tree for me.
A solution to Sudbury’s infrastructure woes would certainly be on that list. With a deficit of close to a $1 billion in the state of our roads and pipes, it would certainly be nice if Santa left a large cheque under Sudbury’s community Christmas tree.
Also on the list would be a new arena. I, like many of you, love Sudbury Arena, but I, again like many of you, was mortified when the Sudbury Wolves first home game of the season had to be called on account of fog.
Who calls a hockey game on account of fog?
She’s a lovely old building, but dressing her up for the ball will only continue to get more expensive. Not only does the team deserve a barn to be proud of, but Sudburians deserve a concert venue where the sound isn’t a cacophony of white noise.
Speaking of white noise, we’re heading into an election year. As a longtime reporter (2014 being my 15th year in the news game), nothing stirs my blood like a good election campaign.
And while some campaigning has begun informally, with the dawn of the new year, things will really start heating up.
Under “Elections” on my Christmas list, I’d ask for a slate of strong candidates for mayor and council; men and women of vision and drive; people willing to put the needs of the city — not their wards, re-election or pet projects — front and centre.
City council has taken a lot of flack this year, much of it deserved, some of it not at all. But it’s a hard job and regardless of what we think of the job they’re doing, councillors give up a lot to serve. Ward 2 Coun. Jacques Barbeau even lost his day job because of his commitment to the city — you can’t argue with that sacrifice.
Now, I’m not suggesting that this council is a failure — some battles were won, others lost — but the lack of forward momentum, the lack of any major achievements, during this term has been difficult to witness.
So, also on the list, would be that the election campaign injects a new determination and energy into our elected officials.
My final wish list item, dear readers, is for you and yours to have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I hope it is filled with blessing and good fortune.
With a tip of the hat to my Irish-Ottawa Valley roots, in 2014, may your right hand always be stretched out in friendship, but never in want.
Mark Gentili is the managing editor of Northern Life.