This column is being written on Christmas Eve, although it is intended for January.
How can someone have time to write on Christmas Eve?
Well, this someone has been celebrating Christmas since the first Sunday of Advent, and except for worship service at my church, I expect Christmas Day to be a quiet one at home.
Yes, there are still some presents under my little tree, to be opened when granddaughter Jillian comes back for her day with her dad and me. But, with other groups of family and friends, I have already eaten and shared in plenty of seasonal gatherings.
And I am grateful that I could do that one more time.
I'm especially grateful because I'm expecting that before year's end I will have bid goodbye to one of my oldest and dearest relatives who is only a few years my senior.
Before 2012 gets too far underway, however, there were some people and events from 2011 that I had planned to praise and failed to write a column doing that.
For example, those Riverview Middle School students whose film made it to the International Student Media Festival. Congratulations are certainly due to them and their teacher.
In addition to congratulations, gratitude is due to Linda Byrd and school system lunchroom personnel for their diligence in being sure that our children have healthy foods - and for the recognition they received.
A lot of people enjoyed the foods prepared and served at Thanksgiving by the Alliance for Church Coordination; many thanks to that group, which includes several churches (more would be welcome), along with Family Connection, RIC-Rack and KARE for Kids. They continue to be helpful and generous all year.
The food at the Christmas party for families of Treatment Court participants may not have been all so healthy, but it was plentiful, delicious and appreciated, according to "Friends of Recovery" member Arlene McClure, who described the New Life Church's decision to host that party a "Christmas miracle."
In completely different categories are some others that should have received my public congratulations and encouragement: Our county commissioners and other officials for seeing that the new Government Center would be ready for its grand opening.
One needs only to look at the three-in-a-row courthouses to realize how this county has grown in its century and a half of existence. I still think that the Historic Old Courthouse demands attention as Queen of the Square.
Even though the Municipal Complex didn't make it as Thunder Road, it is also attention-demanding and provides a place for a modern business center, allowing the center of town to remain "historic looking." It does blend in with the history, however, because that building houses the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame and Museum - and provides a place to show off our very young and successful racers, who are also to be added to my congratulations list.
Now that I have taken up the space that I didn't fill at a more appropriate time, I will apologize to all those other people and groups whom I missed, but who also deserve to be acknowledged. Bethel Baptist and First Baptist churches for their outstanding Christmas productions; Dawson County Woman's Club's Ann Bosworth whose handmade necklace raffle provided more funds for the Senior Center's elevator. And others.
So we'll just keep doing all those good things in 2012.
And if I fail to congratulate you, just know that many of us do really appreciate you.
Helen Taylor's column appears periodically in the Dawson Community News.