1) Fiftieth anniversary Dr. Martin Luther King marches in Detroit and Washington (Dr. King led the first march in Detroit). Detroit's anniversary march was big and beautiful. Weeks later my wife April, a veteran of both 1963 marches, along with sister-in-law Laura, friend Jackie and I piled into a car for the trip to Washington. The King memorial was moving, but another highlight of the weekend was the sangria at a little Mexican restaurant during our Friday night stay in Berkeley Springs, W.Va. Coming back, we stayed in a picturesque town in Pennsylvania. Politics and fun not only can mix, but should.
2) Detroit's first large fast food demonstration in May when 500 people demanded a $15 minimum wage. Everyone wore ear-to-ear smiles seeing the birth of this vibrant and desperately needed movement.
3) Immigration reform is coming. We saw too many families being broken up but also felt momentum building for change. Lots of good folks are pushing hard for it.
4) "Twelve Years a Slave." This terrific film has us learn and relearn the history of white supremacy and the horrors of slavery and slavemasters. Also the determination to be free. Listen to the noises in the theater once the movie ends. Plenty of Kleenex being passed. See it.
5) Speaking of tears: "Same Love." Though this song came out in 2012, when it helped mobilize support for marriage equality in the state of Washington, I first heard it on the radio this June. Tears flow when I play it for people. Download it.
6) Human rights ordinance barring discrimination on basis of race, sexual orientation, gender identification and more wins in my town, Royal Oak, Mich. Equality 1, backwardness and hate 0.
7) December snow bowl, Lions vs. Eagles. Though the Lions lost, there is something about an NFL game being played in 10 inches of snow that totally delights me. I pay attention to weather forecasts for games at Soldier Field or Lambeau Field. It's a brutal game and the rules will have to change for the sport to survive, but it's a vice I have. Maybe not the only one.
8) Coast-to-coast and back-to-back weddings. In May, we went to Portland, Oregon for a niece's wedding. Great wine tour and daily walks amongst towering trees. Drove up to Seattle to see my sister-in-law and days later flew to New York City for the wedding of good friend Genaro. Friend Tom officiated. Daughter Kate shared in the celebration. Family and friends are good to have.
9) A week in Empire, Mich., during July. You can walk to Lake Michigan or take a hike on a trail in adjacent Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park - without ever using a car. Appreciate our country's natural beauty, and let's work to preserve it.
10) Regarding the car: We bought a bungalow that sits between 200-year-old white oaks. Walking distance to grocery stores, drug store, library, farmers market, movies, wooded park and more than a few bars and restaurants. I may never drive again - unless it's to Empire. Get exercise, save gas, help the environment.
Looking forward to new adventures in 2014.
Photo: Greg Peverill-Conti CC 2.0