He even laughed about it a few times.
This year, I’m unsure what to get Ben.
A new suit?
A gift card from Gene Robinson’s Western Auto?
An invitation to Anniston Police Lt. Richard Smith’s retirement party?
A plot of land on the soon-to-be Native American reservation most of us colloquially call McClellan?
Everyone — even deposed council members — deserves gifts under their trees. Don’t be a Scrooge. Whether they’ve been naughty or nice, let’s get:
A restaurant for the top floor of the Watermark Tower.
A coffee shop for Quintard Avenue.
A two-band bill for Brother’s Bar in Jacksonville: Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ and the Velcro Pygmies, though not necessarily in that order.
Funding for the second half of Veterans Memorial Parkway.
Ample work orders for Anniston Army Depot.
Jobs for laid-off depot workers. Incinerator workers, too.
Slanted parking for Noble Street. (There you go, Gene!)
A playoff victory for Jacksonville State’s football team.
A long-term, viable future for Quintard Mall.
Home rule for Alabama’s county commissioners.
An infusion of progressive policies for Gov. Robert Bentley.
Another Cam Newton for Auburn.
Another amendment for the state Constitution, because, like clean socks and close friends, you can never have too many.
Full cupboards for Maudine Holloway at Community Enabler.
A hobby for the few Democrats in the state Legislature.
A new Division I athletic conference for JSU.
An invitation to visit The Star’s editorial board for U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, who, being from Saks, ought to know how to get to our place.
Ditto for Anniston’s Del Marsh, the president pro tem of the state Senate. (Might as well bring Bentley and Mike Hubbard, the House Speaker, along, too. We’ll bake a cake.)
Ample funding and volunteers for Martha Vandervoort at Interfaith Ministries.
A reduction in dropout rates for Calhoun County’s public schools.
A low, seldom-heard-from profile for state Sen. Scott Beason.
A title sponsor for the Calhoun County basketball tournament.
Perspective for those who revel in divisive conversations and political discord.
Muzzles for those who do it anyway.
Tenants for the collection of prominent empty buildings throughout Calhoun County; let’s start with the Regions Bank building in Anniston, the grocery/pharmacy complex on South Quintard and the grocery in Oxford.
Health insurance for those who don’t go to the doctor because they can’t afford it.
A sports year like we had in 1989: Anniston won the Class 6A football title, Oxford won the Class 5A football title, Alabama played at Auburn for the first time ever, JSU played in the national championship game.
Free scoops of ice cream next summer for every kid in the county. (Wright’s Dairy would be my choice.)
A traffic light for the Henry Road-Veterans Memorial Parkway intersection.
A public reprimand for the engineer who designed the Henry Road-Veterans Memorial Parkway intersection.
Sky-high expectations — and results — for Bill Clark, the Gamecocks’ new football coach.
Likewise, expectations for JSU that Jack Crowe will not become the Gamecocks’ version of Pat Dye.
A smidgeon of turmoil for Anniston Mayor Vaughn Stewart, since we’re still curious how the city’s new man will handle such things.
iPads for all Calhoun County students.
Food for Calhoun County’s hungry.
Jobs for Calhoun County’s unemployed.
Rain for Calhoun County’s farmers.
Patience for Calhoun County’s parents.
Astuteness for Calhoun County’s leaders.
Shelter for Calhoun County’s homeless.
Compassion for Calhoun County’s poor from those with few wants.
Optimism for Calhoun County’s soon-to-graduate high school seniors.
Hope for Calhoun County’s downtrodden.
Phillip Tutor — firstname.lastname@example.org — is The Star’s commentary editor. Follow him at Twitter.com/PTutor_Star.