Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Grand Traditions

Earlier this week -- and, like all good things in Gotham, by Subway -- the number that'll complete the New Year's display atop One Times Square reached its destination, and earlier today TIME mag named Vladimir Putin as its Person of the Year.

Hard to believe, but there are but 11 days left in 2007... and so much still to get done.

Before we can get on to the business of the 2K8, the traditional "Year in Review" package will return to these pages, capped by the naming of the "Churchmen of the Year": a global honoree, and one from the US.

One of the perks of a readership 10,000 times (and then some) smarter than its author is that you couldn't fathom a better Nominating Committee if you tried, so the selection process starts with all of you. Beam me a note -- -- and just go crazy with your selections and why they merit the nod. (In the TIME style, part of the package will note several runners-up.)

What's more, though, the names are just the beginning. (Hopefully this isn't asking too much.) Across the board, what stories stood out this year? Trends? Issues? What's been making waves on the ground? Feel free to include whatever musings you feel on these as time and interest allow... but don't let it keep you from the more important stuff.

As always -- and especially as these pages mark their third anniversary this week -- I can never say enough thanks to each and every one of you, first for making Whispers part of your days, and especially for every ounce of the trust, friendship, prayers, encouragement and support so many of you have given, in what seems like every way possible under the sun, each one less merited on my part than the next.

To say this wild ride was wholly unexpected doesn't scratch the surface... yet however overwhelmed, unprepared or incompetent that's found me (depending on the day), that's still not a bad thing; it just underscores how much of a gift the experience is, how much a gift you lot are. And I just hope I figure out a way to eventually express how it's made, how you've made, all the difference....

Suffice it to say, I've been trying.

Lest anyone not be in "the spirit" yet -- or any River City exiles be checking in from afar -- enjoy the eternal, beloved sentinel of the Philly Christmas: the Wanamaker Light Show (regrettably sans famous "Dancing Waters")....

PHOTO: AP/Tina Fineberg