by Caroline Porter
At the end of the year, most of us look back at the year's events and take stock. Along with continuing my business and being active in politics, I've written 40 columns and one feature story for the Zephyr. What I was doing the other 11 weeks of the year, I have no idea - probably just catching my breath. When one writes regular columns, most of which are controversial, reactions are expected and interesting. The columns generated only three letters to the editor, none very agreeable, but your support comes away from the public eye in the form of e-mails, notes, phone calls and comments made to me at meetings and social gatherings. Occasionally a complete stranger will recognize me or my name and whisper in my ear, ''keep up the good work.''
Some of you have told me you don't always agree with me but like my writing. I can't ask for more.
My true friends just take me as I am, a political junkie who feels strongly about many issues and likes to express opinions through writing. And bless my Republican friends, knowing I'm a hopeless cause, just smile, shake their heads, and try not to get me too stirred up again.
You appreciate an occasional light column, not on the subject of politics or government. Even I get tired of the subject. Courthouse employees liked the column about the ''dirty bird'' problem. You enjoyed the three or four columns I wrote about sports, women in sports, including the photo of the Riveter cheerleaders from Kewanee High school, circa 1952. (The Riveters were the frosh-soph teams, preceding the ''Boilermakers.'')
You liked ''There's just something about pigs'' and got a good laugh from ''A woman's work is never done,'' where I told the story about the wife taking her husband to the doctor for a check up. You really liked my chastising NOW for picketing the new Peoria restaurant, Hooters.
Other subjects of the year included updates on the Knox County jail, labor unions, the lack of mental institutions in Illinois, child support mess, Elian Gonzalez, the ageing population, elections (candidates, issues) League of Women Voters, the stock market, Galesburg city commissions and committees, the Chamber of Commerce, Bill and Hillary, possible use of the Harrington Home for county offices, threats of our local militiamen, and finally, the WEATHER!
If you've missed any of these prospective Pulitzer Prize-winning essays, check out the Zephyr website!
Writing on a regular basis is a great privilege and I thank publisher and editor Norm Winick for giving me the opportunity.
My New Year's present to you? A short column. Happy 2001!!
Caroline Porter is a freelance writer from Galesburg who can be reached at (309) 342-1337 or firstname.lastname@example.org.