• John McGary, Woodford Sun Staff

Here’s Johnny! - “If I could find my key, I’d go to my room.”

That’s what Frank Sinatra would sometimes say on the rare occasion that he was off-pitch.

As for me, as I begin writing this at home, I’ve got all my keys, but the “m” and the space bar are getting a little sticky. So please forgive e if there are a few moreistakes than usual.

(Okay, I could have fixed the above errors, but I wanted you to see what I have to work with one day after Christmas and six before 2018 begins.)

Anyway, baby, it’s cold outside …

Awards time

And now, at work, where all my keys work -- drum roll, please -- the inaugural and perhaps-annual “Here’s Johnny” awards for the year 2017:

Peggy Carter S. for delivering the most payoffs to yours truly in the form of Christmas-in-July and Christmas-at-Christmas brownies, cookies and a mad assortments of gifts. Ms. S. reached new heights when she turned a coffee mug with a blue map of our commonwealth and the letters “UK” on one side into something quite different and perhaps even more valuable: On the other side, also in blue, are the none-too-inspired title of this column and my byline. Thank you, Ms. S. Woodford County Attorney Alan George for several good jokes via email. Mr. George is especially fond of notifying me when he sees a television commercial I cut a few years ago for a bankruptcy firm. He is fond of doing so mostly because in the commercial, I indeed appear to be a man considering bankruptcy after a life-threatening illness. He even sent me a screenshot of the commercial, with which I was already quite familiar. Thank you, Mr. George, for your persistent and effective attempts to keep me humble. I tell ‘ya, it was the lighting, and no makeup, and the fact that in the newspaper biz, we’re never far away from bankruptcy.

Versailles Mayor Brian Traugott for not losing his mind when several people wondered on social media why he allowed U-Haul to snap up much of the old Kroger shopping center. I’m not an apologist for Traugott, whom I’ve known since 2005, but I believe he handles such controversies better every year. Maybe he can help me with my temper – in my defense, a life-threatening illness and impending bankruptcy can wear a fellow down …

Midway Mayor Grayson Vandegrift for playing along during a phone interview several months ago about the ill-fated speed bumps. His toddler son, Jackson, had begun to cry while Vandegrift was discussing the problem, and I suggested that Jackson was none-too-happy about the fact that they would soon be retired. “Jackson’s beside himself. He really liked those speed bumps,” Vandegrift said. A little funny goes a long way with me, and Jackson’s dad is a funny man.

The horses at the Versailles Christmas Parade for not running me down while I tried to get a good picture of them, though one of them is on my naughty list. Just as they reached the courthouse, he began to behave like Jackson Vandegrift did when he learned the speed bumps were going away. I scrambled out of the way, in the process aggravating a right knee that was already telling me sad tales. A lesser Christmas Parade-related award goes to the Kentucky State Marching Band member who nearly put an eye out with what I believe was a trombone. I tell ‘ya, this is a dangerous business I’m in …

Sun workhorse reporter Bob Vlach for, well, being a workhorse.

Marla Carroll, our interim editor, for also being a workhorse and a person who pays attention to detail and never seems to lose her cool. It’s not easy putting hundreds of elements where they belong in order to produce a cohesive newspaper, and even with a little extra help from the entire Sun staff, Marla’s handled it like a champ.

Every other Sun employee for putting up with an occasionally less-than-loving Johnny, for whom 2017 contained more than a few speed bumps. From top to bottom, they are among the biggest reasons I’ve stayed so long and enjoyed this job so much.

And, last but far from least, my Dear Readers. I hope, on balance, this little slice of page two brought you more smiles than grimaces.

Happy New Year, y’all.

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