Hey, 2014, we have a few questions for you
You have a few more days before you take your leave. Hear us out.
WELL, GOSH, 2014, who could have predicted the sort of guest you'd be when you arrived 12 months ago?
Before you pack your bags, let's sit on the edge of the bed and review your year with us. It wasn't all bad, but some of what I'm about to say will be hard to hear.
Please don't take it personally. It's meant to help.
Let's start with the good stuff, which we spell T-A-N-E-Y D-R-A-G-O-N-S. The infectious joy of these Little League World Series contenders from Taney Park, led by chilled-out female pitcher Mo'ne Davis, gave us a reason to love baseball when the Phillies' 73-89 season should have made us deride the game.
By the way, there are no words to describe our bitterness that you've denied us a shot at the Super Bowl win. Worse, you made Dallas - Dallas! - the reason the Birds won't kiss the Vince Lombardi trophy.
At least you gave us a lovely summer, which we deserved after the brutal winter you sucker-punched us with. Who did you think we were - Fargo? Honestly, we hadn't seen so much snow since that record-setting cocaine bust in Grays Ferry back in 2008! If the temperate summer was your way of saying, "I'm sorry," well, apology accepted.
Speaking of apologies, legalizing marriage for gay people in Pennsylvania was a perfect amends for denying same-sex couples the rights of straight ones. Could you now please talk 2015 into legalizing gay marriage in the 15 states still stuck in the closet? Tell 'em the winds of change are intoxicating.
I see that you're smiling, so I hate to bring you down. But it must be said, 2014: You were a horrific year for kids.
You took the lives of four babies in a fire on Fourth of July weekend in Southwest Philadelphia. You ended a toddler's life when a security gate fell on her in Brewerytown. You let two carjackers plow their stolen car into three siblings selling fruit in North Philly to raise money for their church. You ignored a 3-year-old Coatesville boy tortured to death by his monstrous mother and her boyfriend.
What were you thinking, 2014? Where the hell were you for all of the other kids abandoned this year by luck - or by those who were supposed to look out for them?
Did you think Philly Jesus would save them?
That's no slap on Philly Jesus - an ex-heroin addict named Michael Grant who has taken to dressing like Christ and hauling a cross around the city this year, preaching "The Word." He was one of your more delightful gifts to us this year, my friend. Who knew his message would entice so many passers-by into taking selfies with him?
As for other men in religious garb, many thanks for coaxing Pope Francis into attending next fall's World Meeting of Families in Philly. The lovable pontiff is expected to draw two million visitors to Ben Franklin Parkway next September when he celebrates outdoor Mass.
Do you think your boy 2015 could get some attendees to crowd surf off the Parkway, after the recessional hymn? I just think it would be awesome.
I have to hand it to you, 2014, you came through in a major way for Chickie's & Pete's staffers who were stiffed out of tip money by the sports-bar chain. In their wildest dreams, I doubt any of the 1,100-plus employees figured they'd ever be entitled to a share of $8.4 million in back wages and damages to make them whole.
And hats off for pushing the city of Philadelphia to raise the minimum wage for airport workers to $10.88 an hour, starting New Year's Day. Their hard work deserves no less.
I can't let this review pass without mention of three people you allowed to go missing this, 2014.
Christina Sankey was a mentally disabled 37-year-old woman who got separated from her caretaker inside a downtown Macy's store on a frigid March afternoon. Her body was found miles away the next morning; she had frozen to death. A grand jury is investigating the incident, but even if criminal charges are brought against her caretaker, it will bring little comfort to Sankey's family, who miss her desperately.
Tell me, 2014, how could you have lost track of someone so vulnerable?
At least you swiftly returned Carlesha Freeland-Gaither, the 22-year-old nursing assistant kidnapped off a Germantown street. She was rescued through the heroic efforts of police and FBI, aided by a brave eyewitness and others who offered tips that brought her home.
But that doesn't absolve you, 2014, of the agony of Shane Montgomery's loved ones. The 21-year-old college student disappeared in the wee hours of Thanksgiving after meeting up with friends at Kildare's Irish Pub in Manayunk. A video showed him wandering toward the Schuylkill; last week, volunteer divers found Montgomery's keys in the river. His family now believes he is in the water.
You have just a few days to help divers find him, 2014, if you don't want to leave this year in utter disgrace. Montgomery's family cannot begin 2015 not knowing where he is, what happened to him and - if he is found in the water - how he got there.
They are in hell.
Before you go, please bring him home.
On Twitter: @RonniePhilly