Thanksgiving Day Hike

 

I can’t help but smile every time I look at these. I wish I could upload every goofy picture. So thankful for a wonderful and photogenic family, beautiful scenery, and reasons to laugh, even on cold, gray days.

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Thankful for River Heights

Ali2

Small-town girl, trying to solve life’s little mysteries.

Kids explore hundreds of places – different worlds, different planets, different countries. When I was a kid, there was one imaginary place I could not stop dreaming about. Again and again, I found myself drawn to this fantasy world, like Alice tumbling down the rabbit hole. But this flight of fancy did not lead me to Wonderland or Narnia or Earth 2; it drew me to River Heights.

 

River Heights, the hometown of Nancy Drew. The place where most of her adventures find her.

That is the sole purpose of River Heights; Nancy never seems to stay there long, but it is the prosy background for her remarkable enterprises and the diving board for many of her adventures.

I always play Nancy Drew computer games when I’m on a break. However, that will not happen over this Thanksgiving Break, which has been taken hostage by two 10-page papers and a plethora of upcoming finals.

But, as I’m sprawled out in my childhood bedroom, researching Sophocles, I can’t help but think about what it must be like for Nancy to come home after cracking a case.

I’m thankful for my hometown. I’m thankful for the Barnes & Noble, where I never actually bought any books, because I would read them straight through, seated in a tiny wooden chair. I’m thankful for the park, where we would build “forts” out of fallen tree branches. Most of all, I’m thankful for the people. Like the good citizens of River Heights, they continue to encourage the strawberry blonde with a thirst for adventure to go out and find some.

People often ask me if I plan on staying in Florida after I graduate college.

I don’t know. Honestly, I don’t even know what state I’ll be living in six months.

That’s a problem Nancy never has to deal with. Partially because she doesn’t go to college, so no one expects her to miraculously have her life mapped out, and partially because she will eternally be a jet-setting 18-year-old. I’m older than Nancy Drew and I’ve travelled less. Nancy is breaking up crime rings and I’m breaking the bank…and stealing rolls of toilet paper from the school bathrooms. Someday, Nancy’s hair will still be golden blonde as she dates the college quarterback and mine will be gray as I hobble around a house decorated with cat fur.

Now I’m depressed.

And I’ve completely forgotten where I was going with this.

One second…

Ok.

The spirit of the town never changes. And it’s nice to have something stable when life is always shifting and you’re just kind of floating around, trying to find a place to settle down. I’m thankful to have a place that gave me such a great start. And a great place to return to.

I’m thankful I have River Heights.

And Nancy Drew computer games.

Cliche, but True

Most people don’t know that I have a small business.
 
But a lot of them are unknowingly seeking it out.
 
I have officially reached the age where everybody is getting married, engaged, or simply “in a relationship.” Seriously, every time I log on Facebook (which is frequent) girls are flashing diamond-encircled fingers and pictures show couple with sugary smiles lovingly pressed against each other beneath the headline “Jane Doe and Man X are now in a relationship.”
 
Which means that, inevitably, there are a lot of break-ups.
 
As irritating as it can be to listen to someone compose an oral expose on why their relationship is so fairytale-perfect, it is even worse listening to them weep over a failed relationship.
 
What do you say? How do you console the unfathomable heartache of someone who has lost their love of the past two months?
 
I apologize for my general snarkiness. But I am so glad you asked.
 
Times are tough. I’m in college and, therefore, broke. So I have decided to expand and monetize my advice-giving services. I believe that my personal relationship experiences make me uniquely qualified to give advice on handling a variety of situations.
 
When I was 5 years old, I married Wesley Price, the neighbor boy, in my sandbox. As soon as we swore to love each other, in health or in cooties, drama erupted. My little sister was upset that I made my friend Lauren the flower-girl instead of her. Little Julianne Christmas (“J,” as I called her) was furious that she wasn’t invited at all. I was crushing on Sean, the boy who lived next door.
 
You learn a lot from a failed marriage.
 
The summer before 4th grade, my family was preparing to move when Sean asked me to be his girlfriend and offered me a little silver band with tiny blue stars. I had moved on, but agreed, because I didn’t want to hurt his feelings. Then our family moved and I learned the importance of communication in a relationship.
 
Gleaning from the wisdom I have gained through every failed relationship, I now give cliché relationship advice on the weekends. (And Fridays from 5 to 9 p.m.) My business motto is “It’s Cliché Because It’s True.” (Which, ironically, is also a cliché. Because it’s true.)
 
So keep your head up! Sometimes things fall apart so better things can fall together. It’s always darkest before the dawn, but tomorrow is a new day. You  only fail if you stop trying – someday, you’ll meet someone who loves you just the way you are.
 
You’re welcome.
 
I charge by the cliché, not the hour. Cash preferred.
 
Ali Renckens
Amateur Advisor
“It’s Cliché Because It’s True”