Reflecting on a year of learning

When the day after a holiday is a Sunday, it's like getting a bonus day of holiday time.

Sundays are special anyway - a day for rest, relaxation, taking time to read the big newspaper - so when the day after Christmas is a Sunday, it feels like an extra day of celebrating.

Knowing that next weekend we will mark the end of one year and the beginning of another, today seems a good time to reflect, think and appreciate.

So I hope you won't mind if I take a moment to look back at another year of learning about the wonderful people of eastern Cabarrus County.

The best part of writing this column is that I get to meet so many great people doing amazing things.

Many of you work to support outstanding causes. Melissa Shandor, Harry Lassiter and the folks at Pine Bluff United Methodist Church fight hunger in our community.

People like Julie Carter, Ashley Kannupp, Carolyn Fink, Laura Blackwell and Julie Stephenson are helping fight cancer when they walk in the American Cancer Society's Relay For Life.

Students have raised money to help a variety of causes, and many of you gave blood to help patients in crisis.

I've noticed recurring themes or names when I look back at the year. Beloved teacher Vickie Honeycutt died, and a Relay For Life team walked in her memory. The Vickie S. Honeycutt Foundation was formed to support cancer patients.

There were transitions. Librarian Kate Moore retired, and new librarian Laurel Reisen became part of the Mount Pleasant community. Betty and Larry Honeycutt gave up their charitable Christmas project, but the Betty and Larry Honeycutt Toy Drive was born.

I found there is still a lot I don't know: that Central Cabarrus High School has a planetarium (which I hope will soon be restored to working order); that a school has been where Mount Pleasant Middle School is now since 1845; and that quite a few ghosts and spirits live in this area's older homes.

I learned a lot about the history of land ownership and had a lesson on "talking out fire," a remedy for burns.

I've loved talking with people who don't see anything remarkable in what they do: folks like Patricia Mey, who saved a stray dog, and Glenn Drumm, who volunteers at the elementary school. I'd also include here the artists I've met and the students who are achieving great things.

For another remarkable year I've been glad to live here in eastern Cabarrus County and to have the opportunity to write about this place and its people.

My wish for the new year is that you'll send me more stories. Everyone's got one, and I'd love to hear yours.