Who among us hasn’t, at some point in our lives, wished for a second chance at something? Whether it’s wanting a do-over on that math test you flunked in the seventh grade, an opportunity to reconcile with your college sweetheart, a rapprochement with an estranged relative, or a complete recovery from a grave illness—from the innocuous to the profound—having a second bite at the proverbial apple is an intriguing notion, one that occasionally materializes for a few of us.
In our story Second Chances, Features Editor Carol Caffin presents seven compelling, disparate tales of people experiencing some type of radical second chance in their lives. But, as Carol explains, that’s where the similarities among the people and their stories end. “There are seven separate stories here with only one common thread: Each of the people profiled was granted a second chance of some kind,” says Carol. “Whether that chance was granted by God, an attorney, a doctor, or fate, each person started out on one side of a situation, suffered in some way, and emerged on the other side better, happier, stronger, healthier.”
Putting this story—a package of stories, actually—together was challenging (not to mention time-consuming) on many levels. “First of all, we had to hone the very broad concept of ‘second chances’ into a topic,” Carol says. “Then, we began our search for people to profile. Not just interesting people but people with compelling stories, stories with an ‘arc.’” How difficult could that be? “It was a painstaking process,” Carol explains. “We didn’t want anything to be contrived. We also didn’t want to include any sense of whether or not we thought a person ‘deserved’ a second chance or judge what they should or shouldn’t be doing with that chance. And it’s hard not to have an opinion when you’re dealing with such personal, often painful, sometimes even controversial, stories. Our goal was to be objective without being cold or oblivious.”
Also in the issue, we have something special for those of you who harbor a sweet tooth (or two). On page 70, we’re pleased to present our first-ever feature on desserts. Our Senior Editor John Turiano and intrepid food writers Leslie-Anne Brill and Andrew Dominick scoured the far reaches of the county to turn up the most decadent desserts available anywhere, from restaurants to food shops and bakeries. I love anything with peanut butter, so it’s no surprise that the handmade peanut butter cups held the inside track to be my favorite of the bunch.
And finally, on the eve of the holidays, we offer you advice on what to buy locally (sure, Amazon is great, but don’t pass up the incredible finds at our amazing local merchants) and what to do throughout all 37 days of this year’s holiday season. But no matter what you buy your loved ones, which sweets you eat, or how you spend your downtime, all of us at Westchester Magazine wish you and your family a happy holiday season, and a healthy and prosperous New Year.