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A whole new meaning to ‘pig in a poke’

The final countdown is on as the few remaining hours of 2020 are upon us.

And, oh what a year it’s been….one for the record books; topped by a virus that totally changed the way we carry out our daily lives. The year also witnessed a record number of hurricanes and wildfires; the impeachment of a U.S. President (and his subsequent acquittal), and a contentious political campaign season on multiple fronts – followed, of course, by a election that shows just how divided out nation has become.

However, there were some highlights to 2020, including a national outcry for social justice and fairness that was way long overdue.

If the news cycle were a washing machine, it was stuck on stuck on spin, rinse, and repeat in 2020. But there were some other stories from the year, some strange while others will warm your heart.

My first nominee for the Page 8 Headline Stories of 2020 comes from a Dec. 23 article by UPI. A Florida restaurant said a “generous customer” whose bill totaled about $29 surprised staff by leaving a $2,020 tip. South Shore Pizza in Ruskin said in a Facebook post that a customer left the $2,020 tip and requested that the money be split among all of the shop’s employees.

This particular story is for my good friend Troy Smith Jr. of Rich Square. Troy loves to purchase scratch-off tickets from the NC Education Lottery and often cashes in on a few small prizes, but I don’t think he’s as lucky as fellow North Carolinian Randy Sigmon of Statesville. Over the course of two months this year, Mr. Sigmon scored cash from four scratch-off tickets….a pair of $1,000 wins; another hit for $5,000 and finally a $100,000 payout on 20-dollar “Holiday Countdown” card, according to the Statesville Record & Landmark.

From Fox News, a Kentucky man is going viral for his unconventional idea of clearing the snow in his driveway with a flamethrower. While being filmed by a relative, Timothy Browning is shown in his driveway wearing nothing but a white bathrobe, socks, slippers and a hat, recreating Cousin Eddie from the iconic holiday movie “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.” While his attire alone would turn heads, it was Browning’s unique method of removing snow from his driveway with a flamethrower.

As 2020, a year that left many people feeling like things are going down the toilet, finally nears its end, an Indiana sanitation company is “flush” with praise as it looks to celebrate the holidays and new year. According to published reports, Service Sanitation of Gary, Indiana used its portable toilets for an annual light show set to music with animated faces on the port-a-potties that lip-sync to the songs. They call it “The Jingle Johns, a lighted loo experience.”

Here’s a weird story from overseas…. Lawmakers in Taiwan got into a fist fight and threw pig guts at each other in late November over a soon-to-be enacted policy that would allow imports of U.S. pork and beef. Perhaps the political leaders from that country were giving a whole new meaning to “a pig in a poke.”

Meanwhile, back in the States, a woman in New Hampshire allegedly posed as a prosecutor and then falsified records related to drug and stalking charges filed against her, according to court documents posted in a newspaper. Lisa Landon, of Littleton, used the state’s electronic system to drop the charges and submitted fake documents in three separate criminal cases. She now faces new charges of false personation and six counts of falsifying physical evidence.

I could go on and on with more wacky stories, but just like 2020 itself, I’m at my end for this week.

Happy New Year….with happier stories for me to write, I hope!!

Cal Bryant is the Editor of Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact him at cal.bryant@r-cnews.com or 252-332-7207.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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