When Barack Obama was running for president of this fine country, he stood on a platform of change. No one can deny that his years in office have been fraught with change, but not always the variety he had planned.
I will not debate the pros and cons of his administration, nor will I denounce or pronounce his abilities. I use the president's "platform" to think about the things I DO NOT want to change in 2012.
When I witnessed once again the kind of generosity that people in the Ohio Valley bestowed on those less fortunate this past holiday season, I can't help but hope that this kind of love for one another will never change. Imagine having 5,000 or more toys to place under Christmas trees for those in need. It happened right here in Wheeling through the efforts of caring people like you.
When you look at the achievements at many of our schools, you have to wish that some educators choose never to retire or at least share their teaching skills with the young teachers just entering the classroom.
Perhaps on a lazy Sunday afternoon you climb the carpeted staircase at Towngate Theatre and take in a funky movie or comical play. It would be silly to ever change Oglebay Institute and all the things it offers local residents.
Did you ride through Oglebay's Winter Festival of Lights or stroll through the gorgeous fall foliage in the park last year? Can you imagine an October without Oglebayfest? Neither can I. Oglebay may tweak and grow its offerings, but the park remains solidly the place we knew as kids and cherish as adults.
When family members who have moved away come back to the area to visit, would it be the same without a trip to Coleman's Fish Market, DiCarlo's Pizza or Gulla's for a hotdog? Hardly. Tried and true recipes do not need anymore spices.
The same goes for our favorite watering holes where moose heads hang on the walls. Or the places where freshly popped corn is always available and the wings are as hot as the beer is cold.
Sure things change and time moves on. While there is no longer a Stone and Thomas or Cooey-Bentz among our retailers, there are still some tried and true family businesses such as Wilson's and Chris Miller's furniture stores where you can put a name with a face and a reputation.
Will 2012 be the year of real change for this country, the world? Only time will tell. Let me suggest that soap boxes hold more than empty promises and boring candidates this year.
It's time to get serious, to buckle down and make our votes count and then hold those we elect accountable.
Every time our too-big-for-its-britches government gets out of hand, we should have a response whether it's a Boston Tea Party revisited or another form of protest loud enough to make our lawmakers and government workers listen.
Instead of change in 2012, I'd be just as happy with a little common sense.
Heather Ziegler can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.