Things that will definitely … maybe … OK, probably won’t happen this year:
1. A parent phones a teacher who, after thinking, “Oh no … what is he going to complain about … ” realizes the parent simply wants to thank her for making such a positive difference in a child’s life.
The teacher misses school the next day due to heart palpitations.
2. On a sunny fall afternoon, fans fill every seat well before kickoff at a sold-out Bridgeforth Stadium. The electric atmosphere helps spur the Dukes to an unexpected win.
Later that night, an unnerved Mickey Matthews checks to see whether the moon is blue.
3. Area residents increasingly forego vacations to places such as Yosemite, the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley as they realize Skyline Drive, Switzer Lake, Reddish Knob and more are beautiful and awe-inspiring in their own right … and are right here.
4. I drive smoothly through the Harrisonburg Crossing parking lot and never once think about how it’s a perfect frustrating storm of parking, traffic and pedestrian flow … and then realize it’s five in the morning … so, hey, that makes sense.
5. In a groundbreaking partnership, Activision and Intuit release the video game “Call of Accounting: ‘In the Black’ Ops,” a first-person shooter that allows players to perform otherwise boring bookkeeping and accounting tasks by blowing all kinds of stuff up.
Accounting instantly becomes the most popular major at local colleges.
6. After 28 years as JMU men’s soccer coach, Tom Martin gains recognition, not only for his record of excellence, but also for the fact he and his wife Cherylen are fixtures at local high school soccer games.
7. Sometime in early January, I go over the 20,000 Twitter followers mark. I know none of them personally, and a person smarter than me wittily describes the irony inherent in “social” media.
8. During blizzard-like conditions, a person flags down a VDOT driver, says, “Thanks for what you’re doing,” and hands him a hot cup of coffee. The driver later fails to convince disbelieving coworkers it actually happened.
9. In a stunning reversal of a long-term trend, I cut my grass before my neighbor cuts his. For once, I don’t feel bad about how my yard looks.
10. On July 21, no one, not a single person, says, “I wish we had an Olive Garden,” because they’re all too busy enjoying an outstanding meal at a locally owned restaurant.
11. The number of parents who wonder why they once put so much focus on their children’s athletic “career” continues to increase, sparking heightened suspicion that life is fleeting, glory illusory and priorities often misplaced.
12. In a shocking turn of events, a wedding takes place where no one critiques the service or reception: No one assesses the bride’s gown and finds it wanting; none of the bridesmaids complain about their dresses; every toaster speaks warmly and fondly; all single men and women happily try to catch the bouquet or garter; no one complains about being in photos, or waiting a few minutes for food to be served, or a lack of options at the bar.
In short, for a few hours, none of the guests think about themselves. Instead, their only concern is to show the couple and the couple’s families how much they appreciate being asked to take part in such a special day.
(I know that’s a stretch. But wouldn’t it be nice?)
Jeff Haden lives in Harrisonburg and is a ghostwriter and Inc. Magazine columnist. He can be reached at www.blackbirdinc.com.