It didn't occur to me until the last week of last year, when my cousin Kevin called from San Diego. He had seen a news report about Harrisburg, Pennsylvania -- where I live -- and had to call and ask me about it. Every year, Harrisburg drops a giant strawberry down a pole attached to the Hilton hotel downtown to celebrate the New Year. Officials are always vague when I ask, "Why a strawberry? Does it mean anything special to Harrisburg? Was Harrisburg at one time the strawberry capital of the world? Is it mythical -- did a bumper strawberry crop come in back in the 1800s that saved the city from financial ruin, or something like that?" The best anyone can figure is that an area of the city was once named Strawberry Court -- it's now an office/shopping complex called Strawberry Square -- and that's why they use a strawberry. Anyway, this year, during a practice run, the cable snapped and the strawberry fell three stories and cracked. So the Hilton spent a couple of days building a new ten-foot steel-framed strawberry, and New Year's was saved. (It does look kinda chintzy, but, really, it's not all that bad when you think of how it was thrown together on short notice.)
Anyway, my cousin went on to tell me about some major health problems he and his wife encountered in 2013, and how happy he was that a New Year was on the way, because the old one was soooo crappy! And, of course, because these discussions always wind up becoming Can-You-Top-This, I countered with all the surprise health problems that hit my family, and my wife's, just during the last two months of the year -- including a cancer death and an unexpected heart attack. And the fact that my son was laid off from his job just two weeks before Christmas.
And that's when it hit me -- we all just lived through 2013! The year that ended in the unluckiest number of all -- 13!!! No wonder the last two months were crammed with bad stuff! So I'm right with my cousin on this one -- bring on 2014! 14 is 2 times 7, and 7 is a lucky number, so maybe we'll all have double the good luck!