Fire­works un­der a driz­zly sky in Bun­nell’s Peo­ple

St. Thomas Times-Journal - - FRONT PAGE - ERIC BUN­NELL PEO­PLE er­icbun­nells­peo­[email protected]

S t. Thomas got ready to re­ally wring in the new year this year on one of the wettest days of De­cem­ber.

But Mon­day’s rain didn’t dampen spir­its – much – on New Year’s Eve at Pinafore Park.

In spite of the weather, about 100 peo­ple gath­ered for the siz­zle and fizz of fire­works at a fam­ily friendly 8 p.m. start of the New Year right, as the song goes.

“I never would have thought rain would be an is­sue on New Year’s Eve!” e-smiles Sara Teare, cred­it­ing event pro­duc­ers K&H Dis­tribut­ing Fire­works for set­ting up in the soggy and mak­ing sure the show didn’t float away.

The dis­play was part of Light up the Night, which is the 5,000ish lights strung in Novem­ber through Pinafore and which re­main switched on nightly at 5 p.m. thru this week­end. It’s the fourth year for the lights and fire­works, which Sara or­ga­nizes to brighten our town‘s dark De­cem­ber evenings. (Although the days now are get­ting longer. I’m sure of it).

Fire­works last year at­tracted about 200 spec­ta­tors. This year, spec­ta­tors were harder to count.

“The crowd was smaller but I’d say there was at least 100 peo­ple - a lot more folks this year came and stayed in their cars, so it’s harder to get a proper head count,” Sara says.

“There were lots of peo­ple out with um­brel­las though, and I was for­tu­nate to have a very en­thu­si­as­tic lit­tle girl sit­ting near me - her re­ac­tions to them all were great!!”

♦♦♦ Even though she’s our town’s un­of­fi­cial Ms. New Year’s, Sara’s not a res­o­lu­tions kinda per­son.

Be­cause, she rea­sons, why wait to Dec. 31?

“As for res­o­lu­tions, I don’t re­ally have any - I’m more of a ‘If you want to change some­thing, change it. Don’t wait for New Years, next month, or Mon­day, just do it!’ kind of a per­son.”

♦♦♦ Mean­while, Den­nis Tay­lor and Raymie Jewell un­plugged the lights af­ter New Year’s Eve at the house in Port Stan­ley – the house that lights up the night on Sel­bourne Drive with an an­nual hol­i­day dis­play of *thou­sands* of lights, syn­chro­nized to mu­sic.

Spec­ta­tors are in­vited to make a do­na­tion to Make-A-Wish Foun­da­tion of SW Ont. as well as Port Stan­ley Food Bank, and Raymie says they were gen­er­ous.

Though wet weather and soggy ground forced the cou­ple to close off their back yard to vis­i­tors for a num­ber of nights, Den­nis and Raymie say do­na­tions will cover a young boy’s wish. They still are count­ing.

And food for the food bank in­cluded even a Christ­mas turkey. In­deed, what rain!?! “Peo­ple re­ally seemed to em­brace the joy, wear­ing elf cos­tumes and Santa suits, crazy Christ­mas hats and lit neck­laces.”

And one cou­ple even em­braced each other. He popped the ques­tion Dec. 22 in the back yard. “She said YES!”

(Wouldn’t you know it but Raymie was up­stairs and missed the mo­ment when they slipped in af­ter he Face­booked for per­mis­sion. Nev­er­the­less, the cou­ple added to the evening’s ra­di­ance: “I saw them com­ing down the hill with big smiles and lots of peo­ple con­grat­u­lat­ing them).”

Christ­mas shop­ping this year for the cou­ple in­cluded more lights for next year. There were 83,000 in 2018.

“Den­nis was out shop­ping be­fore Christ­mas’” Raymie re­ports. And when friends found out he was work­ing Box­ing Day, they stepped in.

“He got a text at 6 a.m. ‘Where are you? Why aren’t you shop­ping?’

“When our Crazy for Christ­mas Lights, Eh! friends found out he was work­ing, they picked up some things he was eye­ing be­fore the hol­i­days ... ”

♦ ♦ ♦ There were peo­ple out walk­ing. Some with the dog. They were jog­ging. Rid­ing bi­cy­cles.

One home­owner was rak­ing leaves off the lawn. I don’t know if that was a late fin­ish to last year’s gar­den, or an early start on this year.

Af­ter a wet New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day 2019 was gloomy but, cer­tainly, any­thing but glum around StT and E.

And the park­ing lot at Mackie’s was jammed at lunchtime.

Though beach weather is a few months off, the Port Stan­ley land­mark is open week­ends year­round. As well as NY Day 2019.

In­deed, just one ex­cep­tion in the past year. They Face­booked that they turned the fry­ers off the week­end be­fore Christ­mas “... to al­low every­one one week­end off a year ... ”

♦ ♦ ♦ Beach weather! The Two-Four is just 133 days away Fri­day. Bet­ter pack those New Year’s res­o­lu­tions in the duf­fel and get thee to the gym.

♦ ♦ ♦ Here’s some read­ing in the Globe’s best-of list of 2018 movies:

“The past year was filled with rich per­for­mances from the in­dus­try’s lead­ing ac­tresses . . . but can any­one fairly say they matched the comic tim­ing of Rachel McA­dams,” quote critic Barry Hertz in his year-end Top 10 list, which awards No. 1 spot to Game Night fea­tur­ing the St Traised star.

Did 2018 just pass me by? Look­ing over the list, I re­al­ize I didn’t see any of the year’s Top 10 (ac­tu­ally, 11 be­cause of a tie). But a quick click – gotta love the In­ter­net at least some of the time -- and St. Thomas Pub­lic Li­brary has two Game Night DVDs in its col­lec­tion. Both were out on loan as of this writ­ing but one was due back Thurs­day.

Mean­while, Elgin li­brary’s copy was on the shelf at Port Bur­well.

And here’s the plot sum­mary from the county cat­a­logue:

“Max and An­nie’s weekly cou­ples game night is kicked up a notch when Max’s charis­matic brother, Brooks, ar­ranges a mur­der mys­tery party, com­plete with fake thugs and faux fed­eral agents. As the six uber-com­pet­i­tive gamers set out to solve the case and win, they be­gin to dis­cover that nei­ther this game nor Brooks are what they seem to be.”

There you have it! Mur­der and may­hem. Sounds just the things to warm up a cold win­ter’s evening. Even though the days are get­ting longer … I am cer­tain of it!

RAYMIE JEWELL/CON­TRIB­UTED PHOTO

There were 83,000 Christ­mas lights to light up the night in Port Stan­ley at the home of Den­nis Tay­lor and Raymie Jewell, where spec­ta­tors do­nated to Make-A-Wish Foun­da­tion of South­west­ern On­tario and the Port Stan­ley Food Bank, and one cou­ple be­came en­gaged.

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