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Holiday

I will resolve to

Wanda thought that New Year’s resolutions were important. Each year she wrote them down and printed them up, so that she could check them off at the end of the year, or repeat them and try harder to stick to them the next year. That was part of the routine she had developed for December 31st . She would go through what happened during the year, would give her body a careful check (concerning the effects of desserts and beer), and see how well she had kept the resolutions from the year before.

           Last year she had resolved not to speak out in anger in public quite so often as she had done the years before. She drew deeply on her memory for the year, went over some tense situations in which she had refrained from yelling at people that she felt deserved it. After she went through this matter for about fifteen minutes, she came to the conclusion, that she had done very well on that score, except for one or two, maybe three or four times. She pulled out a pen and checked that one off.

           She then stood in front of her full-length mirror in the hallway. She scrutinized the parts of her body that were most likely to show the effects of rich desserts and multiple beers. After a few minutes of careful scanning, she felt that she had earned a checking off in that resolution as well. So far this years self-analysis was going quite well. This was a good start – two out of two.

           She went over a few others that she checked off as well. They weren’t investigated as carefully as the first two had been. That being done, Wanda thought that she would take a break from this hard self-scrutiny, and go through her highly piled collection of the year’s news in her town as reported in the local newspaper. As a town councillor, she wanted to see how her public activities for the year were received by journalists and people who wrote letters to the editor. In previous years, the journalists in her town reported reasonably fairly, with no obvious bias against here, and there were no negative letters to the editor. So she could take their word for how her activities were seen by townspeople. That might help her with resolutions for the next year.


A February Issue

           Wanda could see in this newspaper review for the past year how well her promotion of the expansion of the local Senior Centre had been received. She was a member of that Senior Centre, and wanted it to serve seniors such as herself much better than it had in the past. Wanda wanted there to be a decent sized stage in the Senior Centre, something it did not have at present. One letter to the editor praised her for her advocacy for seniors, as did an article composed by a journalist who had been writing for the paper for decades.  Some of the much younger councillors and the first-term mayor thought that a stage for seniors who wanted to sing, dance, act or tell stories was a waste of money. They obviously could not see themselves as old some day.   

The front page of the issue with the positive letter and article was dedicated to a strange fire that had broken out in a local women’s wear store, one owned by the town’s young mayor. Wanda hadn’t really realized how serious the fire had been. The pictures showed that it had been devastating at the clothing store, but strangely, it was mentioned that the fire had only damaged the one store, not its commercial neighbours.

A June Issue

           In an issue that came out in June, Wanda saw that her opposition to the development of a cement factory in former farmland was appreciated by her supportive journalist and by long-time residents of town. The developer was a newcomer. He was big in the business community, unlike Wanda, whose crystal and curio shop was often mocked as New Age (in the bad sense) by leading commercial figures such as the developer. 

Later that month, an article pointed out that the developer had left town after his mansion was struck by a freak bolt of lightning and destroyed. It was the same night as he was throwing a fancy, over-priced formally-dressed gala in the most expensive and pretentious restaurant in town to gather support for his project from the town’s financial elite, which included several councillors and the mayor.

An Early November Issue

           Then there was the issue that came out on the week after Halloween. It had been an especially dramatic night for Wanda.  A pair of teenage boys came up to her front door a little while after the last small children had come and left.. But they did not come for treats. They came to play a trick. They wore balaclavas so that they would not be identified. They tied some firecrackers to the door handle and lit them. They were loud and explosive. Her cat, Dark Angel, who had been sitting at her place on the back of the couch, looking out the front window, had jumped in fear and had come crashing down on the floor. The boys laughed. Wanda stared at them as they left, her lips moving slightly in anger.

           She noticed that there was an article related to those same two boys. The headline read “Town Teenagers Rescued from River.” Apparently neither of them had been able to swim. They were quite fortunate that after falling in the river (No one could have imagined that they were compelled to jump) and were swept downriver, they came close to the fire station. One of the firefighters had been out back, for some reason. Wanda reckoned he had gone out for a forbidden cigarette, but there was no word of that in the article – no surprise. He heard the two boys screaming for help as the river took them ever downward, heading for the waterfall that was not far away. The firefighter grabbed two ropes that were coiled in the back of fire station “like sleeping snakes” The young journalist fancied himself a writer of creative non-fiction, and wasn’t a good judge of which metaphors to use. Imagine if someone had turned them into real snakes! Then he ran down to the river and tossed a rope to one of the boys, obviously holding on to the other end, and then tossed another likewise to the other boy. He was then able to pull the two of them out of the cold rushing waters of the river, doubtless saving their lives. 

After reading that article, which she hadn’t looked at when that issue came out, Wanda sat thinking, her long gray hair almost touching the floor. Dark Angel walked up to her and started purring. She stroked the cat’s black fur, and looked deep into the depths of mystery in her black eyes. She found an answer there. Wanda knew what she would do for her New Year’s resolutions for the coming year. 

Maybe loud angry swearing is better than deadly whispered curses. Her witchly powers were just too strong for her to use them so freely. Someone might get killed.

       

January 18, 2020 11:52

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