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Leila S. Case: Reflections of 2015; welcome to the New Year

Happy New Year.
Let’s turn over a new leaf and sing out a hardy welcome to 2016.
I am more than ready for the New Year, a new beginning filled with sunshiny days with no dark clouds hovering in the wings. The year 2015 wasn’t exactly the best ever, although there were many, many happy times — more good than bad.
So, not to dwell on the negative but focus on the positive, we enjoyed good health, added yoga classes, more freelance writing and fun family get-togethers.
I gained two grandchildren through marriage and both additions to our family couldn’t be better and a new baby was added to the family circle.
My oldest grandson Zachary Herndon of Atlanta, who I wrote about so often in personal columns when he was small that a friend jokingly referred to being “Zacharized” after reading about his escapades, grew up, and graduated from Georgia Tech. He has a responsible job, and was married last May to Jessi Queen in a lovely garden ceremony. Then we barely had time to recoup and regroup when I donned the same dress in June for the wedding of my stepgranddaughter Loren Shivers to Brandon Vann who repeated vows in a beautiful ceremony at Concord United Methodist and a festive reception in Plains.
Then in November we welcomed Everett Reid Shivers into the family fold. Reid is the infant son of my stepgrandson Aaron Shivers and his wife Brook Shivers of Leesburg. He is a precious child and is the image of his dad.
In July I celebrated another birthday with friends and family, and gave thanks for my beautiful and supportive family and the opportunity to compile enough experiences through the years to write a book but I don’t have the patience to sit still that long.
In late summer, I was happy to be asked to contribute to this newspaper again. I find it a joy to sit down at my computer to compose a column and occasional articles of local interest. I have enjoyed meeting new friends and seeing old ones, serving on several boards and driving Bruce to Magnolia Manor where he is “artist in residence” and I have become acquainted with the fine staff and residents.
This past fall, I was privileged to be among the many to welcome the Rev. Jeff Wallace as the new priest at Calvary Episcopal, Americus, on the heels of saying a fond farewell to the Rev. Rick Buechner of Thomasville, our good shepherd for three years.
Our family holiday celebrations throughout the year were awesome. We gathered at our home for Easter dinner; enjoyed July 4th frolics at Lori and Andy’s, and a Thanksgiving feast at Mark and Anne’s. Our Christmas was special with all our extended family. Days of celebration — gifts, good food, games and, the best gift of all: being together again, but at times it rivaled the Griswold family experiences in National Lampoon’s classic movie “Christmas Vacation.” We survived daily grocery shopping, misplaced articles, dangerous thunderstorms and torrents of rain,  24-7 kitchen duty, and other mishaps, too insane to name and compounded by four visiting canines — Max, a 12-year-old King Charles spaniel; dachshunds Penny, 10, and Daphne, 4, and Willis, 8, a rescue dog of questionable breed.
Happy New Year y’all. May 2016 bring you good luck, good fortune and good health. I’m heading to the gym.

Leila S. Case lives in Americus.