This cake was brought to me by the letter ‘H’. And Graham Nice and the fine folks over at Duncan Dairy Queen. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)

Sarah Simpson Column: My favourite columns of 2019

Either way, my goal is to share a story, and hopefully a laugh.

Another year has passed and here I am once more looking to recap my most favourite of the 52 columns I’ve written over the last year. I’m never really sure from week to week what I’m going to end up writing about. Sometimes it’s members of the community, other times it’s my family. Either way, my goal is to share a story, and hopefully a laugh. Here are some of my favourites:

SEE RELATED: Looking back while moving ahead

SEE RELATED: My run was not a New Years resolution, but I did it anyway

In January my husband and I took our first child-free vacation. It was a short one — just a couple of days to Squamish and Whistler — and we left the kids with my mom.

It turned out my folks had taken my kids to a local play-place and another boy became aggressive, telling mine he was going to kill him. According to my mother, my son fended off blows, warning the other boy he was trained in Spinjitsu (a ‘martial art’ used by Lego ninjas in the show Ninjago). He didn’t retaliate.

“He showed awesome restraint,” Mom said.

By and large, my son corroborated my mom’s version of events. Except for one thing. My meek, shy, under-sized then-four-year-old told me he decked the kid. While I don’t condone him hitting a kid, I’m pretty pleased it was at least for a noble cause.

“Nobody messes with my sister,” he said.

Near the end of February I wrote about Lewis the cat, who’d wandered away from home and two months later, was rescued and returned home to Maple Bay.

It sounds like Lewis had been making the rounds all the way out in Arbutus Ridge — some 14 kilometres from home! He ended up at his Guardian Angel’s place around Jan. 25 and opted to stay put in their garage. They alerted animal control and, with the help of ROAM, the SPCA was able to positively identify Lewis through his tattoo.

My favourite story in March was about Duncan Dairy Queen and the misspelled birthday cake I got there for my daughter. It said “Happy Birtday” (they forgot the ‘H’). I thought it was a pretty funny situation and apparently you all did too because got wonderful emails in commiseration — full of photos and stories of your own cake mishaps. Never once did I mention where I bought the cake. It turns out people figured out that I got my cake at Dairy Queen and the staff there had been fielding comments about my column.

Anyway, one day, Duncan DQ Franchisee Graham Nice walked into the newsroom with a big cake and an even bigger smile. The cake had a note for me, complete without every single ‘H’. It’s really nice that Mr. Nice and the folks at Dairy Queen saw the humour in the situation. Ever since, I’ve been ordering my cakes without an ‘H’.

Jump forward to July and my birthday balloon horror story. It too was about a birthday, specifically my son’s fifth.

He had this helium-filled Mylar balloon that seemed to be stalking me. Everywhere I went it seemed to lurk in the shadows and startle me, so I shoved it in my closet. The joke was on me though because one morning when I went to get dressed it jumped out at me.

READ MORE: A birthday balloon horror story

In September, I wrote about a real group effort to get two birds out of Amy Peaker’s wood stove. The Shawnigan resident called for help on Facebook and Shawnigan superhero Judy Bobke put her in touch with SPCA’s wild animal rehabilitation Centre (Wild ARC) volunteer Mony Vesseur who was able to help extract the birds and wrangle them out of the house. It was a real community effort with a happy ending.

READ MORE: A bird in the bush worth two in the stove?

The first column I wrote in October featured me admitting I backed into the tail end of David Slade’s truck on a really cool TREE (The Reforestation Efforts of All) community tree planting day. What started out as a pretty terrible experience turned into a memorable one for my family as Danya Hillyard and the TREE crew, and Mr. Slade taught us all about planting trees.

READ MORE: The terrible truth of tail lights and tree planting

One of my favourite columns of the year came at the end of October, when I got to write about an unexpected visit I had with Jack Bridges when I stopped by the veteran’s home to pick up a letter he’d written to the paper. After a long day at work and an expected longer night at home with my kids, it was the perfect pause and a wonderful chat with a pretty incredible man.

READ MORE: Rare letter pick up results in Friday afternoon fun

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To whoever it was that decorated this cake: I love it. Thank you for making me smile. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)

Danya Hillyard and David Slade check in with each other at the 2019 community tree planting event at Slade’s property at the end of September. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)

Sarah Simpson

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