Never have I ever been so happy to write a hokey year in review column. Not because the things to review in the year were so great that we want to celebrate them but because they were so terrible it feels great to slam the door on them.
Good riddance, 2017. You were a dud.
It started off with the inauguration of one of the most controversial presidents of all time. Love him or hate him, there is no denying that the people who really love Donald Trump or really hate Donald Trump really hate each other. Really, really. And the constant stream of anger and online name-calling is enough to make us all want to bury our heads in Sand Island or Mountain or just any sand, mud, dirt, gravel, bubble wrap, whatever we can find.
Maybe it wouldn’t have been as stressful for us here in Alabama if our own state and local politics hadn’t been so absolutely cuckoo as well. But those fronts were really cuckoo too. Really, really.
The “Luv Guv” soap opera finally came to an end, nearly a year after we all got to hear the words you never want to hear from the mouth of a septuagenarian: “When I stand behind you, and I put my arms around you, and I put my hands on your breasts, and I put my hands … and just pull you real close. I love that, too.” (Sorry, I just had to get that in one more column. Yuck, yuck, yuck!)
We had another contentious, racially divisive mayoral race here in Mobile. And the city council is still fighting over who will be their next president.
And, of course, most recently, the special election for the Senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions, which made Alabama an international sensation but unfortunately involved accusations of child molestation and a horse named Sassy.
But as lousy as 2017 was, there were a few good things too, so let’s focus on those. Some are bigger deals than others, but it’s the little things that get you through life, right?
What was that, Patty?
In October, Airbus announced a partnership with Bombardier, who builds jets similar to the ones crafted here in Mobtown. This partnership will most likely result in a second assembly line here. Yay! And earlier this month, Delta ordered 100 jets and Airbus announced most of them will be built in Mobile. We’re busy, busy! What was that that Washington Sen. Patty Murray said about Alabama workers?
Oh yes, I remember.
“I would challenge anybody to tell me that they’ve stood on a line in Alabama and seen anybody building anything,” she said.
Well Patty Poo, come on down and take a good look. We’ve got plenty to show you. In fact, we’ve already delivered our 50th Airbus jetliner.
Ann finally got a facelift!
It was one of Mobile’s ugliest, bumpiest thoroughfares. Only the bravest among us dared to travel down it with a lidless coffee. But in July, sweet Ann Street was finally resurfaced after years of constituents whining and moaning about how horrible she was.
Poor Ann had been neglected for years because it was estimated it would take $8 million to fix her. And we just didn’t have the funds for that. But Councilman Levon Manzie found a cheaper alternative, a poor man’s facelift, if you will.
While attending a conference, the good councilman heard about a new technique being used as a “stop-gap” for aging streets in Pittsburgh. In this process, they would grind down the top layer of the street (time had done a pretty good job of grinding Ann’s top down already), inlay it with filament and then resurface. So that’s what they did. And she is as smooth as a New Year baby’s butt.
It’s only been a few months, so it may be too early to tell how long this smoothness will last, but so far so good. No drink spillage has been reported.
Even when we feel like the rest of the world is looking down on us (though not as much anymore!), we still have gridiron greatness. Alabama and Auburn fans can both rejoice this year. The Tigers beat the Tide in an incredible Iron Bowl and Alabama made it into the playoffs and may even be able to capture another national championship. Locally, UMS-Wright and St. Paul’s brought home state titles and McGill came darn close. We have some pretty amazing talent in this state, of which we can always be proud.
Get in my belly!
While it may have been a depressing year for political junkies, it was a tremendous year for foodies in Mobile. Just this year alone, we saw the opening of Chuck’s Fish, Southern National, Serda Brewing, Eugene’s Monkey Bar, Roosters, Bun-D, O’Daly’s Hole in the Wall, Jonellis, Grimaldis, P.F. Chang’s, Fuzzy’s Taco Shop and new locations of Mediterranean Sandwich Co., La Cocina and Moe’s BBQ. And I am sure I am missing some — please forgive me, as I am in a food coma from just writing this paragraph. So while the year may have been depressing from a news standpoint, at least we had plenty of food to comfort us. And that’s my favorite kind of comfort.
I have always said odd years were my favorite. But, 2017, you were just plain odd. And not in a good way. I am happy to bid you adieu and I am hopeful we will find a kinder, calmer, happier 2018, with much less gubernatorial boobie holding, far fewer accusations of senatorial candidate child molesting and peace on Earth. See you next year!