• John McGary, Woodford Sun Staff 16

Here's Johnny - A Santa nose for Christmas

People ask where I get my column ideas. I tell 'em, "Sometimes they jump up and bite me." And sometimes, I'm not speaking metaphorically when I say that. Friday morning, I went into Sun office manager Mimi's office to greet her granddog, an elderly beagle-Jack Russell mix named Maggie. As I am quite comfortable with animals both domestic and wild, I petted her head - Maggie's, not Mimi's - and leaned down for a closer look. Maggie bit me on the nose. It didn't hurt much, but I bled a bit and required a Band-Aid. In the journalism profession, we are occasionally told not to stick our noses where they don't belong, and in my career, never has there been a clearer example of what failing to observe that advice can do. I spent the rest of the morning, until the blood stopped flowing, looking like Jack Nicholson's character in "Chinatown" after a run-in with a dangerous hood. Mimi assures me Maggie's shots are up-to-date, but if any Dear Readers see me walking around with what appears to be a mouth full of toothpaste, please take me to Bluegrass Community Hospital. On the way, don't get too close . Merry Christmas, Maggie. I forgive you. The Silver Fox On Thursday, Dec. 15, the Silver Fox (aka editor Steve Peterson) celebrated the 25th anniversary of his employment at The Sun. He also celebrated a birthday this week, but certain employment provisions prohibit me from sharing which birthday that was. He is a fine journalist and a good listener and an all-around good egg. Woodford County is better for his presence, as am I. (Speaking of which, as of last week, I am a Woodford Countian, too.) Now if I can just convince him that a dog-bitten nose is worth at least one day off . Coal and switches Dear Readers may recall my occasional mentions of a lady I will henceforth refer to as P.C.S. She brought us Christmas goodies last week and I ate more than my share. I have enjoyed bantering with Ms. S the past two-plus years and she gives as good as she gets. However, it's possible that at some point, perhaps in this very column, I went too far. Last week she came by The Sun with a Christmas stocking for me. Protruding from the top were what appeared to be tree branches of some sort. They were wrapped with a pretty ribbon. Inside the stocking - which seemed suspiciously heavy - were what I first hoped were precious gems. Ms. S insisted that I pour them out, and I did so. Each precious gem was wrapped in tissue paper. She insisted I unwrap them, and I did so. They were precious gems, in a sense. If I hold on to them for, say, a million years, the four lumps of coal in the Christmas stocking will turn into diamonds. She assured me, several times, that I'd earned the coal and switches. I'm almost afraid to open the present she left under the tree in the front office, but I will, and not until after Christmas. I'm already in trouble . Merry Christmas I don't yet have the build of Santa, Ms. S's treats notwithstanding. However, I do have a red nose, which I think qualifies me to wish every Dear Reader a Merry Christmas. It has been an honor to report and take pictures and, um, columnize the last two-plus years. We Woodford Countians have a lot to be thankful for, in my deservedly humble opinion. I'm thankful for the people who shared their stories with me and the readers of The Sun. They have informed and touched and occasionally inspired me, and I'm grateful for their trust - it's not easy to be interviewed, and I can't recall one person who hasn't been, at the very least, polite. I hope all of you have a wonderful Christmas with lots of hugs and family time and food and, yes, a present here and there. And if someone slips a few lumps of coal and several switches in your Christmas stocking, well, join the club. I also wish you a holiday season free of dog bites, especially to the nose. Merry Christmas, y'all - and, as the little fellow in Dickens's great work said, "God bless us, every one!"

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