Great outdoors brought inside

Photo provided Evans Elementary School student Griffin Raco tests water as part of the Trout in the Classroom project.

"And it's been a long December and there's reason to believe

Maybe this year will be better than the last

I can't remember all the times I tried to tell my myself

To hold on to these moments as they pass"

"A Long December"

~ The Counting Crows ~

By Dennis Wright

Imagine being given your most favorite meal, and finding out that you don't have any teeth. I know that sounds pretty strange, but that is the best way I can summarize the month of December. With only 22 working days last month, I was on vacation for more than half of those days. What makes matters worse is that I was sick for all but two of those days. My cache of NyQuil has been nearly depleted. That basically sums up 2003 for me. Okay, now that I've taken my pity party hat off, it's time to get back to business, be positive and hopeful, and give my saints and sinners their first lovin' spoonful of Write-Offs for 2004.

***

Write-Off: While asking the public earlier this week what their New Year's resolutions were, I had the same question asked of myself. Of course, I replied that I would make them known in my column this week so here they are. Might I preface this by saying that out of the ones I worked on last year, I managed to keep three out of the five of them.

First of all, I am going to get a handle in my ongoing battle with procrastination. That means I'm not going to set aside things for tomorrow that I can accomplish today. It's funny, but I tell my nieces every time to do what they are told so they wouldn't get yelled at. Methinks I need to follow my own advice; that way I won't get yelled at by those whom I put off until the next day. Only I know how much money and time that I simply wasted by not taking care of business when I had the opportunity to do so. There would've been that elusive Playstation 2 in my living room had I used that hairy bump on top of my body.

Second, doing some work on my humble abode. Granted, it's my home sweet home, and despite the little time that I actually spend there, it could use some sprucing up. Besides the occasional hanging of art, it's about time to do some chucking and tossing. If I haven't used it, looked at it, or thought of it, it's either in the garbage or potential eBay merchandise. Maybe I could use those profits for the Playstation 2, hmmm.......

Third, replacing the Thunderchicken. Yeppers, that's correct on that one. It's done a cavalier job in getting me around town in a single bound, but the pasture is calling and that's where I hope to place it by year's end. Hopefully this winter won't bear any resemblance to last February and things should fall into place by the summer.

Fourth, and this is a repeat one from last year, is to attempt to make some time in my life for those around me, even if it is meeting people for lunch or taking in a movie. There was some progress made in this category, but there are those that I haven't seen in a while and that was made apparent to me during this holiday season. All work and little play makes this big P.I.T.A. a lonely individual.

Last but not least, I'm hoping to duck any preconceived fate and not take a dirt nap this year. Being a firm believer in how things happen and risks occur, there is still some work to be done and I'm still on the schedule to do it. Besides, heaven doesn't need any more characters and hell isn't particularly known for its chicken wings.

***

Write-Off: Now that the regular football season is over, the playoffs are upon us and the Philadelphia Eagles have the weekend off. That is great news. But as we all know, starting late Sunday night, and until game time of their next game, we will be inundated with the abundance of "fly Eagles fly" and "E-A-G-L-E-S" chants. Added to that will be an oversaturation of Eagles news coverage, including photos of pets wearing Eagles jerseys, houses decorated in green and white, and whatever Joe and Jane Public can do to show their support for the Eagles. Yes, I am an Eagles fan. Yes, I want to see them go far. But, I'm absolutely tired of the annual clubbing over the head of Eagles admiration. I know this rant won't serve any purpose but to make some aware of it, and hopefully things won't get out of hand as in year's past.

***

Write-Off: There are a couple of really cool events coming up this month ... so you'd better mark your calendars now for them or you'll miss out.

The second annual "A Taste of Phoenixville," an event to benefit the Good Samaritan Shelter, is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 15, 2004 at the Columbia Station, 400 Bridge Street, Phoenixville, from 6:30 to 9 p.m. The crowd of 200 people from last year can attest that the food was awesome and the auction items were excellent. Fabulous food from the likes of Robert Ryan's Columbia Station; Columbia Bar & Grille; The Sly Fox; The Epicurean Restaurant & Bar; Twin Bays; Rocco's Pizza; and The Bakery at Chester Springs will be made available to the public this year. For ticket information for "A Taste Of Phoenixville," please call (610) 933-2000.

Speaking of the Sly Fox, the second annual Robbie Burns Birthday Bash, a Scottish national holiday honoring the birth of poet Robert Burns, will take place the following evening, Friday, Jan. 16, 2004 at the Sly Fox Brewhouse and Eatery at Pikeland Village Square. More than 250 lads and lassies feasted on Haggis, mussels with garlic and leeks, steak Auld Reekie (made with whiskey and smoked cheese sauce) and baked salmon last year - while washing it all down with the Sly Fox debut of O'Reilly's Gang Aft Agley Scotch Ale. For more information, please call (610) 935-4540.

***

Until then, some final words of wisdom to "write-off" to - I want to give a heartfelt thank you to everyone for the wonderful cards, presents and wishes I received during this past holiday season. It was definitely unexpected, highly appreciated and made the season bright.

Dennis J. Wright can be reached at dwright@phoenixvillenews.com.

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