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Following are tales about two wonderful adventures that experienced episodes of comic misfortune and a traditional event that turned into an unforeseen display of happy exuberance.

My St. Louis past is filled with many bicycle touring memories -- some challenging, others remarkable and all warmly remembered. Once in a open meadow without any shelter, 12 of us spent the night camping during a rain storm that lasted until noon the next day. Since a normal morning meal wasn't possible under such circumstances, we had to be satisfied with a breakfast of cornflakes.

That miserable day, however, is still fondly remembered as "the morning of the never-ending breakfast" because our bowls were being filled by falling rain faster than any of us could spoon the cereal into our mouth. Talk about diminishing returns.

This year's Flagstaff winter parade presented its own challenge. We thought being third in the procession was ideal until the two entries in front of us began rolling down Beaver Street at warp speed.

Our starting, happy-go-lucky walking pace quickly dissolved into a near-frantic effort to keep up and soon we were hot-footing it over the pavement in mad pursuit. When our strides became a completely "discombobled" (is that even a word?) lurch forward, we ended the fiction of being a part of a parade on North San Francisco.

The stated reason for our stopping was we were totally pooped and only interested in finding someplace to sit down, but the exceedingly steep hill in front of us probably had something to do with that decision too.

I must admit my holiday spirit was taking a nap when two Sundays ago I started out on the candlelit walk of the Coconino Estates Luminaria. My enthusiasm first woke up when I heard the Flagstaff Community Band playing out of Nat White's open garage door and was further lifted by the Ukulele Jammers singing and strumming.

But as the new group began their kazoo routines, the true joy of the holiday season rushed through me when the gathered crowd began loudly cheering and clapping in appreciation. Go Flagstaff go!

As 2018 makes its way into the history book, our activities will include a hike with a snowshoe option (weather dependent) in Buffalo Park starting at 6 p.m. on New Year's Eve followed by a clean-up of the Pine Cone Drop litter in and around Heritage Square on New Year's morning.

The trash retrieval will start in front of the MIX Restaurant at 8 a.m. and at noon that same day all are invited to watch (or participate in) the Upper Lake Mary Polar Bear Plunge happening at the boat dock.

Paw Placement of Northern Arizona dba High County Humane will be accepting dogs and cats at their facility located at 11665 Highway 89 on Jan. 2, 2019. Their website address is ppnaz.org and there'll be a grand opening of the facility in the spring.

Also on the second day of January there'll be a table tennis open house at the Joe Montoya Community and Senior Center starting at 6 p.m. All skill levels welcome and the activity is free.

Have a great 2019 everybody!

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