This is the time of the year, or so it seems, that doubles as the banquet circuit.
The Blair County Chamber of Commerce held its annual awards breakfast Friday. The Central Blair Recreation Commission will honor John Robertson Saturday - the same night, in an unfortunate scheduling quirk, that the Curve will hold their annual winter gathering (formerly the Hot Stove Dinner), featuring former Pirate great Doug Drabek.
Each will produce the typical banquet moments - humor, emotion and the sense of community - but the chamber experience is unique in that it often surprises its honorees.
The 2010 Small Business Person of the Year is Bob Zeigler of Zeigler Chevrolet in Claysburg. Zeigler admittedly knew about it because he had to be lured back from Florida to accept it.
So Zeigler had time to jot down some thoughts, and it showed: He gave a great speech on teamwork - on how, as an owner, he owes much of his success to his players, how he doesn't fix the fenders, he doesn't field all the calls, he doesn't test drive the cars.
He hires his managers, has input into their staff selections, and then lets them operate.
His message underscored how a car dealer, in these challenging times, in one of Blair County's smallest communities, can still be in business after 91 years.
The other moment worth retelling came from Roger Oswald, winner of the ACE award, which honors agricultural excellence.
Oswald did some stand-up comedy - which isn't easy at 7:45 a.m. - and after thanking the Chamber, he looked at the list of previous winners and determined that most had passed away.
"I'd also like to thank you," he said, "for not giving me this award posthumously."
Hollidaysburg native George Nagle e-mailed here a month ago to inform us that he's running for president.
Nagle, 32, has never held a public office.
Nonetheless, we invited him in, and he impressed us with his knowledge and ambition.
While he has virtually no shot, and while it's more advisable to enter the political arena by running for a lesser seat, at least Nagle is willing to back up his dissatisfaction in America's current state of affairs with action.
Good luck to him: He'll need it.
Tuesday will mark the Mirror's one-year anniversary to converting to a smaller-sized newspaper.
Actually, the launch was on a Monday - the day we were covering the Steelers' Super Bowl victory over Arizona.
"I liked that special little edition you put out on the Steelers," one caller said.
"Um, thanks," was my response, "but that's not a little edition: That's the new Mirror."
We hope you've gotten used to it.
This, of course, is a biased view, but we think the paper is better - easier to handle and thus read.
The newspaper industry has steadily evolved over its lifetime. Not long ago, I received a copy of a 1939 Mirror that was sent from Alabama by former Altoonan Jerry Bartley.
The paper was so wide it could have been used to cover a picnic table.
I passed it on to Mirror archivist Kay Stephens.
We take our obituaries directly from funeral homes. They are reported to us on a form and often are read back to the funeral directors to ensure accuracy.
However, we recently had a case in which, after the funeral home had cleared the information, an error occurred when we tried to define the abbreviation for AZA, a Jewish youth organization of which Hyman Adelman was a charter member.
Imagine the family's curiosity when they opened the paper the next day to learn their father was a charter member of, according to Google, the Association for Zoos and Aquariums.
Mirror Managing Editor Neil Rudel can be reached at 946-7527 or firstname.lastname@example.org.