Christmas is my favorite season of the year.  Nothing that compares.  I appreciate the ER for giving me space for my Christmas Wish List.  As it seems to grow erver-so-slightly every year, and I always give credit to former BFP sports writers Andy Gardner and Pat Garrity for giving me the idea.  Enjoy reading.  If your name is missing, let me know.  Have a wonderful Christmas and a safe, Happy New Year!

Lucille McClure – Youth movement for Arizona Cardinals; Mark Bombard – QB for the ‘Skins; main and guidance/counseling office staff – rule-following and deadline-hitting students; Rob Reardon – great teachers, staff, administration, and students; Beth Cobb – solid year 1 and many more to come; English Department – wonderful students, great books, and a solid budget; Mike Deweese – got your QB, now a young RB for Bills; Armando Vilaseca – Bryce Harper; Ben Johnson – extra family time and more disciplined students; Louise Strong – a great retirement; Jenn Letourneau – dog-walking coupons; Heather Garrow – Continued success in classroom and on athletic field; RJ Garrow – camp renovations complete; Shawn Montague – tickets to the NCAA Men’s Final Four; Kenena Montague – European vacation; Breya Montague – soccer, basketball, and lax camp; Tori Couture – nice running shoes; Pam Hemingway – a family vacation during the February; Travis and Sarah Desilets – all sorts of hockey stuff; Stacey Anthony – New Baby Bomber added to the roster; Adam Weiss – vacation escapades with wife…and family; JJ Palker and Josh Thibodeau – many happy years together; Mike Soules – full-time retirement; Nicola Anderson – work promotion; Becky Anderson – another fine year teaching in VA; Wayne Davis – pickle ball pro tour; Becky Davis – new golf clubs for FLA; the BFP – the return of high school basketball box scores; the Essex Reporter staff  – continued success with quality paper; Miguel Andujar, Adam Judge, Gary Sanchez, Glibber Torres, Giancarlo Stanton – Bryce Harper or Manny Machado; Didi Gregorius – get well soon; Sue Pratt, Chef Dowman, and others – upgrade to Colonial Room dining room; Yvonne Wolfer and the CTE cosmetology staff – 2nd floor expansion; Jim Dirmaier, Todd Mackenzie, Connie Esmay, Linda Dulleba, and Bob Travers – steady increase in enrollment; Christine Chase – happiness in life; Jake Orr – a trip back to the finals next fall; Brian and Penny Dubie – a retirement home on a lake; Katie White and Ryan Robitaille – the best in coaching talented distance runners; ET and EJ Planners – let logic be your guide in all town matters like nice street lights, taxing the Fair Grounds, sidewalk removal on upper Briar Lane, combine our rec departments; Scott Milne – need you in politics; Carol Cooke – great  deals at Couples Swept Away in Jamaica; Jim and Erin Murphy – family summer vacation; Leo Labonte – massive Ducks Unlimited decoy contract; Lynne Labonte – FF miles to Texas; Governor Scott – education campaign promises kept; Jill Shumway – a raise; Ryan Gates – kids go to UVM for free; Mike McCaffrey – more soccer games to ref; Bob Ward – luxury press box seating; Aaron Boone – 5 solid starters, keep Andujar at 3B, a championship in the Bronx, and thanks for the 2003 ALCS game-winning HR vs Boston; Alyssa and Josh Jacobs – another little one and some free babysitting nights; Dave Rich – congrats my friend; Nancy Russin – non-eventful 8 hours 5 days a week; Bill and Judi Galdi – wonderfully warm retirement; Jill Galdi Mulhurn – more babies and a VT reunion; Paul Hamel – lake house serenity and good thoughts.

Ed Hockenbury – American East championship for men’s hoop team so you can accompany them on road trips to the NCAA playoffs; Ed Hockenbury, Jr – a full-time athletic job; Ryan Hockenbury – another summer at SHP; Jessica (Folden) and Stephen Sanders – a wonderful life together; Brett, Corey, Lennie, and the Crew at the Links at Lang Farm – sunny days next golf season with rain only at night, the smoothest greens, and more than enough golfers on the course; Rich Celia and Brent Farnham – college hockey assistant coaching job; Mike Picard and Jeff Greene – the ‘Boys in the playoffs, deep into playoffs; Pete Picard – Florida whenever, wherever; Pete Picard Jr, Elizabeth and Jim Austin – TEST summer swim championship; Art Pellerin, Bob Clifford, Steve Ferreira, Steve Malgeri – Nathan Evoldi; Chris Polakowski – inching toward Delaware shores retirement; Carol Polakowski – FLA island vacation this winter; Dave Gomez – the best in all you do in Europe; Jeremy Hammond– a great job with CHS TF; Jessie Hammond – out with a bang; Lyle and Barbie Newell – best running shoes on the market; Jackie Wheel and Prescott Stanton – congrats and many happy years together; Bill Peters – happiness and babysitting gigs; Gus Charbonneau – new motorcycle; the Smailhodzic’s – more love than ever this Christmas;  Tom Preska – high-tech audio/video equipment;  Sherri Allard, Bob Hickey, and John Scherer – no extension tax returns; Brian Cummings – a youth movement championship in the Bronx;; Charley Ranges – tax free standing for church property; John Woodley – Harper or Machado; Jean Robinson – Celtics and Yankees in finals; Peggy Economou – warm weather vacations;; Steve Emery – Steelers late-season turnaround; Mike Donoghue – spring training press pass; Dean Corkum – new skis and crutches just in case; Grady Corkum – new lax everything; Lucy Corkum – running shoes of your choice; Madison Corkum – dean’s list (again) and another solid UVM lax season; Steve Roberts – free Links membership; Mike Baker – golf balls that avoid lakes,  woods, and gators; Leighton Walker – more running shoes; Mary-Louise DiGiovanni, Tom Jiamachello, and Marilee Taft – trips to Florida, Europe, Martha’s Vineyard, and the DR; Deb Stark – warm winter vacations; Ellen Emery – standing room only in the TAP intern business; Jane Goodman – low MA property tax; Kate McDonald – only intelligent NYY trades; Jamie Young – comfortable office; Colleen Birner – future administrator’s job; Mae Mayville – bird tracking devices; Nate Sheppard – a return to EHS; Owen Charron – tickets to see Eric Clapton in 2018; Jenn and Brad Luck – tons of kid time; Tim Albertson – Happ’s return to NYY; Windy and Mike Kelley – jobs in Chittenden County; Bill Mayville – QB in NFL draft for Giants; John and Sue Burroughs – SUV with great gas mileage; Carol Willey – another summer trip to VT; Ruby and Jim McIntyre – summer trip to VT; Joe Mackey – relaxation; Allison Duffy – coaching your kids in TF; Courtney Brooks – JetBlue promotion; Joe Johnston and Gene Nelson – Thor or Degrom; Shawn and Heather at the Light – an even bigger radio listening audience; Danielle Tkach – a flourishing pastry business; Donna K and Gary G – buyer for FLA home; Maria Sciancalepore – Villa in Italy; Jason Polakowski – continued success as strength trainer for Phillies; MLB; Katie Polakowski – the choice of hospitals after med school; Kevin Barber – Tyreek Hill as your keeper; Sue Barber – new workout shoes; Molly and Kate Barber – best in ‘19; Mike and Tammi Gilbert and family – smart trades for the Tigers, a heck of a drive, newest James Patterson books, and incredible swimming lessons at Sand Hill Pool; Dave Zehnacker – the return of IBM’s Wednesday nights’ summer soccer league to Towers Rd; Bill Duval – more teams for ever-popular women’s summer league from the NE Kingdom down to Montpelier and Morrisville; Barb Duval – animals and plants of your choice; Robin Noble – more time in FLA and with grandkids.

Frank Martel – new breed of VSOA refs next fall; Don Fillion – a fishing trip to Wyoming; Annah and Dr. Chris Sullivan – a return to coaching and private practice; Tiffany Gilbert – middle school TF/hurdle job; Joe O’Brien – time on the links; Dennis Fillion – less hours on the job and more soccer games to ref; Bill Hennessey – CEO job in your future; Joe and Julie Hennessey – long walks in VT/FLA during retirement; Libby Smith – wonderful golfing opportunities @ BCC; Kate and Gael Shungu – an addition to the family in the near future; Meghan and Zach Smith – more Red Sox tickets; Toria Lajoie – a highly successful athletic training  career; Jason and Amy Stannard – college grants; Derek Jeter and Andy Pettitte – a front office reunion in Miami; Mariano Rivera – a first ballot Hall of Famer; Bernie Williams – #51 retired; Josh Becker – U of Arizona football tickets; Greg Walsh – huge EAC parking lot; Mike Wells – another successful winter on the bench; Noel Boutin – most efficient Zamboni in the state; Joe and Sandy Moore – great draft pick for Eagles and a Carson Wentz visit to your church; Levi and Leah Smith – tons of kid time;  The James family – happiness out west; Ron and Nancy Myers – vacation time with grandkids; Ally Vile, Adrianne Martin, Nicole Mone-St. Marthe; Betsy Hoffmeister – Town of Essex Recreation Department continues excellence programs offerings to our residents; Charlie Burnett – a return to the football coaching ranks somewhere; Randy Burnett – following your brother’s lead back to coaching; Mark Ginsburg – continued success at MMU on the gridiron; Kerry LeClair – good draft pick for Eagles in April; Ryan McLaren – a return to EHS in some capacity;  Dr. Ramsay – the cure for cancer; Brad Smith – a full slate of softball games on the Cape; Nicole Dvorak – success in business; Mark Barry – clean and safe CT Rec beaches; Adam Peterson – VSOA soccer referee certification; Kenny Burnett – well-oiled equipment at Essex Rec; Dave Foster – college hockey tickets; Our VT National Guard – a huge thank you for your service and always safe returns home; Jerome Monachino – awesome voices in SMC choir and yearly fishing trip; Amy Phillippo – Boston Marathon qualifying; Kathy Cinder – grandkids; Cecilia Golnazarian – a happy and relaxing life; Bob and Mary Anne Chaffee – fun, fun, fun on the Cape; Sandy Willey – relaxation in retirement; Bob Willey – ditto; John Willey – inching closer to retirement and a dead-eye jumper; Chris MacFarlane – new training shoes; Ace Ali – Flynn season tickets; EWSD IT Crew – high tech, top-of-the-line computers, less glitches, and of course our endless thanks; Alex Abrami – sports column for the New York Times covering the Yankees this season; Matt Crawford – new fishing pole; Linnea Willey – coaching high schoolers; Doc Maddalena – continued EHS GHOC success; Jerry Frank – massive amounts of relaxation on the lake; Deb Maddalena Connor – happiness in life; Shaun MacArdle – coaching your daughter in XC at CHS; Molly Edwards – fun with family, summer trips, and enjoyable vacations; the MacArdle kids – a return to Disney; Duncan Harvey – great pizza and food at Rocky’s; Diane and Russ Auger – weekly tee times in sunny weather and good luck with the new FLA home; Emily Scott White – congrats on the wedding; Teresa Fleming – grandkids; Natalie Fleming – congrats on the wedding; Mac and Stick McAllister – a full-time sports’ contract at NBC Sports; Tim Stratford – running shoes; Steve Hennessey – front office job in MLB; Kara Bissonnette – Manny Machado; Ashley and Ryan Neary – free babysitting; Eric and Leslie Langevin – easily, so much more family time; Sports and Fitness Edge – parking lot expansion; David Coggio – more golf in VT and thriving business in ME and CA; the EHS, Brownell, and Essex Free Libraries – Lee Child, Michael Connolly, John Grisham, Tom Clancy, Vince Flynn, Sue Grafton novels; Spencer Noble and Jeff Taft – brand new tiki bar in Fort Myers Beach……

            Mario and Sherri Ross – blessings and many more wonderful years together; John and Shelly Summerville – grandkids constantly running throughout your home; Deb and Steve Schonberg – extra time on Sanibel Island; Natalie LeClair, Elaina Coutrayer, Troy Coutrayer, Kara McNamara, Leah Murdock, Shannon and Bridget Hennessey, Ashley Wilson, Kathryn Kearns, Kristin Kowalski, Erin Oliver, Khanh Nguyen, Erica Boyce, Katherine Ramsey, Alexis Purdy, Sam O’Sullivan, Lauren Goodnow, Jamie Kida, Scott Cayea, Beau Cameron, Mary Krug, Kimmy Dirmaier Brandon Keift, Kristin McNamara, Charlie Kline, Anna Guthrie, Leah Conchieri, Lexie O’Sullivan, Sarah Sherman, Katie Polakowski, Lindsey Judge, Julie and Katie Conlon, Casey Dubie, Bailey Farrell, Antonia Armstrong-Laird, Shannon Heath, Angela Henry, Hillary Keithcart, Officer David Bowers, Simone Mendes, Lindsay Norris, Kyla Ward, Mike and Olivia Dimambro, Sarah Flaherty, Melissa, Josh, Olivia, and Ben Fontaine, Claire Murphy, Paige Wood, Kim and Tom Dvorak, Chinelo and Chike Asanya, Rosy Gallo, Lucy Lincoln, Isey Esposito, Nikki Braceras, Alexa Pius, Rachael Pinto, Paige Hathaway, Emma Sopchak, Isabelle and Nate Federico, Bobby and Abigail Evans, Kevin Conchieri, Tom Carton, Mariah Neverett, Katherine Furland, Kira and Kevin Hancock, Ashley Douglas, Courtney Gleason, Tim Yandow, Jack Mechler, Erik, Sean, Eric, and Katie James, Amanda Sinkewicz, Kyle Baker, Madison Stephenson, Mychaela Harton, Sydney Duncan, Sade Hankey, and others thank you so very much for the fond TF memories including countless state championships…may you all enjoy the  successes in life; Emily Goodrich – Dean’s List at UVM; Sand Hill Pool lifeguards and staff – a ton of sun, calm camp kids, and windows for the back room; Saint Ambroise (Azzie) Azagoh-Kouadio – complete recovery – prayers your way; Thomas Dvorak – success in business; LJ Harris – success in life after college; Nate Bradbury – full-time teaching and coaching job; Emily Zelko – a great life-after-college job; the EHS maintenance and grounds staff – green grass to cut, and less dirt and garbage around; Emily Danis – more grants for college-aged and med school daughters; Dave Barra – time on the bench in Chittenden County; Craig Iverson, Steve Lunna,  Roland Noel – continued commitment to high school soccer; Jay Vallieres – a return to the VSOA next fall; Andy Gingras – yet another outstanding season reffing soccer; Alan Feeley – Bryce Harper; DJ Johnson – VT golfing visit, continued success in CA soccer coaching, and a NYY World Series title; Nick Hendry, Sean Diminick, and Dr. Visker – smooth jumpers in EHS Alumni BB game;  Jessie Coutrayer – strong Hornet hoop team this winter; Nate Crete – auto business thriving; Bruce Murdough – inching closer to retirement; Les and Nancy Johnson – pristine lake conditions and Enosburg club championship; Bushey’s – continued great service at affordable prices; the Girls at One Credit Union – lots of lollipops and $$ to disperse; Michelle Robitaille Campbell – Vt Marathon return with family; Andy and Jeanne Cole and the Kevin Laverty family – kids as future track stars at EHS; Blaine Isham – a coaching job for all seasons @ EHS in your retirement; Ira Isham – another talented wrestling team this winter;

Barb Isham – swimming lessons at SHP this summer; Martone’s Market – delicious sandwiches / grinders for our grateful community; Kevin and Suzie Kearns – the good life in  retirement; Bill O’Neil – relaxation at the lake, some soccer coaching, and family time; Essex Cinemas – great movies, coupons deals, more delicious popcorn; Matt Conti – awesome job @ SFE; Ramunto’s, Vespas, Mimmo’s, Hoagies, Pappa Franks, and Rocky’s – delicious Italian food; Juniors – where are you? Josh Santerre – baseball coaching job; Mike Goodrich and Shanna Moyer – snow, snow, and more snow; Dan Shepardson – an NCAA basketball Final Four playoff game…..

John and Colleen McAuliffe – golf clubs and Links membership; Ryan McAuliffe – NY Yankees return to World Series; Matt McAuliffe – NY Yankee tickets; Kevin McAuliffe – revival of old slapshot; Matt Stratford – Boston Celtics tickets; the Essex – continued great pub and restaurant food; Bryan and Wendy Hirschman and girls – a trip to Disney and a prayer for Harvie; Don Tynan – continued success making profits for your clients and friends @ Paine Webber; Tony Romo and Jason Whitten – solid careers in NFL broadcasting; Zeke Elliott and Dak Prescott – a run through the playoffs to the Super Bowl; Giancarlo Stanton – a more relaxed season as clean-up hitter in Yankee line-up; Gary Sanchez – 30/100/.275; Aaron Judge – in a potent line-up with the previous two Yanks (and maybe a FA or 2) 45/125; Aroldis Chapman, Jonathan Holder, Tommy Kahnle, Chad Green, Dellin Betances, and maybe 1 more arm – a powerful end of the NYY bullpen; David Robertson – a return to NY; Stan Williams, Jeff Paul, Scott Bliss, Bill Eschholz, Geoff Bennett, Dave Martin, Jeff Evans, Dan Hagen, and Catherine Riley – continue your positive work with youngsters in school and on sports teams in Chittenden County; Tim Rice – good health and relaxation; Brad Parker – a FLA spring training jaunt; T.J. Meade and Katie Mack – a return to the soccer field at any level; Jim Smith – a run in masters’ fast-pitch softball; Andrew Lucier – a PE teaching job and snowboard club advisor; Ashley and Jeff Barry – many happy years together; Rich Haskell – covering the Red Sox in spring training at Fort Myers and opening the air to guest broadcaster; Dennis Barcomb – new soccer goals in Winooski; Direct TV, Comcast, Fairpoint, and Version – lower TV, internet, and cell prices; Judy Foregger – the fondest of memories; Dick and Jane Kehaya – relaxation in the Villages; Sarah Newman – great flying perks at work; Zaf Bludevich and Jerry Flanagan – SMC golf outing championship; Tom Brennan – a return to ESPN; Essex PD – budget to do the things you need to accomplish; Essex FD – a full force of firemen; Essex Rescue – any equipment you need to keep us safe; Marissa and Ryan Palmer – congrats on the wedding and live happily ever-after; Ali Wells – EMT certification; Sal Bannerman – a beautiful empty nest; Jim Larkin – unlimited cruise and resort credits; Jan Mahoney – Caribbean Isle retirement and thank for sending us to CSA in Negril, Jamaica; Carol Cooke – Milne Travel MVP, free trips to Couple Swept Away; Mat Fraser – continued success as CrossFit champ and the fittest man on earth; Jeff Paul and Bernie Cieplicki – continued success with your Saturday morning sports show; the Riell family – phenomenal memories of your father and husband; John and Liz Tobin – lower Fort Myers’ handicap; Syd and Kathy Banfield – walking shoes; the Langs – grandkids; Hal Getty – spring training seasons tickets for O’s at Ed Smith Stadium;  Brian Chandler – Corey Kluber for the NYY; Pete Shill – low-cost paving company for Tree Farm drive and parking lot; Jan Lee – best of wishes for good health and another rescue dog; Josh Lee – Duke season basketball tickets; Janet and Phil Lucier – retirement to VT; ; Dan Marlow – well-deserved retirement coming soon; Paul Lamontagne – even more photographing business; Joyce’s Noodle House – the best Wanton soup in the area; China Gardens – new sign and standing room only business; Dave Neil – offensive coordinator’s job for Steelers; Mike Plageman, Bronson Johnson, and Dave Paya – lots of customers for your highly successful contracting, seamless gutter, and roofing businesses; Kelley and Chris Ahrens – unlimited amount of fun with family; Ben Hollwedell – success and safety with the police force; Robin and Deb Hollwedell – winter trips to FLA; Steve and Nancy Dowd – New 4 Iron and tons of grandkids time; Jay and Judy Brady – Links membership and tons of grandkids time…..

Jack and Nancy Chalmers – retirement done, now a winter getaway to FLA; Jeff Chalmers – college scholarships for boys; Jaime and Kristen Chalmers – private dock in Mallett’s Bay; Steve and Dana Line – enough sports equipment for kids; Nicole and Joe Colantoni – more family gatherings and trips; Joel Kynoch – PA job at UVM; Jason and Dawn Heminway – hockey (field and ice) equipment for kids; Dan Couture – a return to BI FF; the Champlain Valley Fair – lower food prices and the Eagles, Jordan Smith, Jimmy Buffet, Toby Mac, Jordan Feliz, and Crowder in concert; Rich Graham – a return to coaching at EHS; Ken Fontaine –  return to the EHS track and field program; Linda McNulty – treasures to sell; McKinley McNulty – everything on your Christmas list; Mike Smith – college a hockey coaching job;  Amy Smith – Boston Marathon; Jason Smith – impenetrable blue-line defense; Abby Smith –new hockey stick; Chelsea Zelko –happiness and success;

Scott Slocum – Gary Sanchez jersey; Diane Slocum – Another puppy for Kodiak to play with; Adam and Eva Slocum – completion of home renovations; Willie and Sarah McNulty – unlimited supply of ammunition; Kyran McNulty – new sight for rifle; Wakely McNulty – new princess dress Calder McNulty – all-terrain vehicle; Dayna and Ryan Davis – new family van for traveling to VT; Isla Davis – Christmas list checked off; Marlowe Davis – the best first Christmas ever;  Mike and Jackie Landsberg – Stowe weekend getaway; Caleb and Elijah – Christmas list checked off; David Kathy and David Converse – another Caribbean vacation; Randy-Kay Lavalley – way too much time in FLA with family; Dale Lavalley – Dallas wins the East; Nick Lavalley and Cariann Zandell – ski weekend out west; Sonny and Trevor Rushford – southern US vacation; Chloe Rushford – t-shirt, hat, and phone cover; Gavin Rushford – skateboard stuff; Derek Kearns – Aaron Judge jersey; Liz Chouinard – workout passes for 2019 anywhere she wants; Michael Chouinard – Amazon gift card; Uncle Vince Martinelli – 14th St Fishery restaurant gift certificate in Ft. Lauderdale; Don and Carol Hathaway – great lives in VT and FLA; Henry and Sandy Bechtel – condo in Arizona; Eric and Holly Hathaway – a beautiful daughter-in-law; Derek Hathaway – the woman of your dreams; Nikki Boudah – the man of your dreams; Cullen Hathaway – park/forest ranger job; Dominique Ploof  – wonderful life in VT; Sarah and Josh Stark – FLA vaca in February: Owen, Wyatt, and Hudson Stark – that very same vacation; Charlie and Kristin Peet – Greece trip and wonderful times with your girls; Sydney and Madison Peet – Greece trip; Lululemon and Urban Outfitters clothes, gift cards, and hockey stuff;  Nate and Amelia Bechtel – vacations to remember; Ethan Bechtel and Stacey Davis – New Year’s Eve in Dubai; Mark Bove and Bove’s – continued good luck with the First Fridays and ignore any complainers; Josh and Karen Gonillo – a brand new CT home; Gianna Gonillo – 2 weeks in VT this summer with Grammy and Pappa Joe and a gift certificate to Chelsea Piers; Vince and Karen Gonillo – retirement relaxation and a new Jaguar;  Jenna and Nick Davis – a new Jeep Cherokee and/or Nissan Rogue to battle Rochester, NY winters; Stacey Gonillo – another great, new job in Fort Lauderdale working for Comic-Con, at least one more Marvel movie credit, and the costume (Wonder Woman, Spidergirl. Batgirl) of your choice; my wife Tina – relaxing, free time in retirement; new workout shoes, another golf lesson, naps, babysitting many little ones, HGTV, trips to CT for granddaughter, Jamaican vacations, and fun in FLA…….

As I end this column, I always remember my mother-in-law Terry Bechtel, my father-law, Ed Bechtel, my dad, Don Gonillo, and my mom, Rosemary Gonillo who we shared so many loving Christmases.  I miss them very much.  The memories are special and help so much especially over the holidays. Now let’s create more memories.  Have a very blessed, Merry Christmas and a safe, healthy, and prosperous Happy New Year!