They always say you
should try new things.
Don’t be afraid, they
say. Give it a shot, they say. You won’t know if you like it until you try,
They’re kind of a
pain, aren’t they?
I guess it’s not so
bad if they challenge you to leave your comfort zone once in a while.
Lately, my job seems
to offer constant challenges to mine.
A few weeks ago, I was
piloting a lawn mower on the turf at Classic Park in Eastlake.
A few months ago, I
did a P90X workout with a bunch of the contestants in the Lighten Up
Take that, Paul Ryan.
You’ve got nothing on me!
This week tops them
First, there was the
On Tuesday night, The
News-Herald took part in the Lake County Fair parade that stretched from Harvey
High School to the fairgrounds.
Tricia Ambrose drove the van, and I walked alongside Community Engagement
Editor Cheryl Sadler.
We knew we were in
trouble when we got to the parade stepoff lot at Harvey and discussed our
strategy with the various candidates for office on the November ballot.
No matter who we
talked to, we heard we didn’t buy enough candy.
A slew of them offered
us some if we ran out. And we did.
Trouble is, I didn’t
know how far in front us — or behind — Maureen Kelly, Judy Moran, Dr. Lynn
Smith or Jason Wuliger were.
So we just couldn’t
bring a bucket up — or back — and ask for a few pounds of Tootsie Rolls.
They had plenty, too.
Our strategy for next
year’s parade is that we’re going to start buying the candy now. It’s not like
it goes bad, right?
I believe it’s laden
with a little something called “preservatives” that will keep it tasting sweet
and delicious for years to come.
But, after we ran out,
we still had about a mile to walk to the fairgrounds and we had nothing to
offer the kids who were begging us for some treats.
After a while, I just
stopped making eye contact. I’d wave a little, kibbutz with Cheryl and wish it
wouldn’t be considered rude to climb in the back of the van to take a little
A couple of nights
later, we took part in a coronation.
It’s always been our
contest, but this year we actually got to stage the Commerce Queen event at the
I was lucky enough to
be up to my elbows in it from the start, and just before the crowning, got to
meet the three finalists.
I couldn’t have gotten
a better introduction to the pageantry than to have spent time with Chris Yano,
Beth Heeter and Patricia Kelly.
Each one of these
Commerce Queen finalists would have been a spectacular choice. They all love
their jobs, they all adore the people they serve and they are all incredibly
dedicated to their employers.
Yano spends countless
hours working to ensure that no senior citizen in Fairport (or beyond) is
Fairport Harbor Senior Center programs there run the gamut from
brain-teasers to physically challenging exercise classes. There’s something for
everyone, and everyone is welcomed with open arms.
Heeter’s customers at
Chase Bank in Mentor-on-the-Lake are like family. She helps them with problems
and fixes mistakes they make in their financial affairs. They trust her,
because they’ve known her for so many years. “I believe nice gets nice,” she
And, nice she is.
Kelly has a legion of
fans at Shamrock Cottage in Mentor. They appreciate her knowledge of the Irish,
Scottish and Welsh goods on sale in the shop, and for her Irish soda bread. A
sign of how beloved you are is whether kids like you.
“Kids call her
Grandma,” said one of her biggest supporters.
I’d say we did well in
our first year as the host of the Commerce Queen.
When it came time to
place the tiara atop Yano’s head on Thursday, it was so fun to see her
reaction. She was thrilled because of the support she got from her seniors, and
giddy because of the love she felt from the family snapping pictures at the
They say a smile is
worth a thousand words.
In this case, it’s the
same word — joy.