January takes its name from Janus, the god of gates and doorways in ancient Rome and Greece. Small statues of the god, who had two faces, one looking inward and one looking outward, were often placed at the entrances to homes. New Year’s is likewise a gate between two years, making this a time to both look forward and look back. So here goes.

Nicasio Reservoir overflowed Seeger Dam last Thursday afternoon, Dec. 23, district staff reported. More than 9 inches of rain have fallen here in the last two weeks.

As 2010 comes to an end, Marin Municipal Water District is looking into the new year with healthy water supplies. MMWD provides water to the San Geronimo Valley, along with most of East Marin south of Novato, and as of this week, the district’s seven reservoirs were at 97 percent of capacity.

With more than 200 people on hand, Missy Patterson’s daughter Alicia Patterson Ferrando (at center) on Tuesday spoke emotionally about her mother’s love for her family, as well as her candor.

A reception in memory of Rosalie “Missy” Patterson, who died Dec. 19 at the age of 84, was held Tuesday afternoon in the Dance Palace. The reception was preceded by a High Church mass in St. Columba’s Episcopal Church. So many people were fond of Missy that there was standing-room-only in the church for much of the crowd.

Missy, who came to West Marin in 1959, was the mother of 11 children. For 28 years under four ownerships, she was circulation manager and front-office manager for The Point Reyes Light.

Missy worked for me 22 years, and at Tuesday’s reception I noted she came to learn so much about her job that she sometimes had to explain to government staff the regulations for dealing with newspapers. (Photo by Lynn Axelrod)

People in West Marin trusted Missy, and when the last publisher found that numerous oldtimers felt he had turned The Light into a scandal sheet and had stopped reading it, he made Missy a columnist in an effort to win them back.

The column, Ask Missy, was a compendium of Missy’s thoughts about the world. Sometimes she was indignant and sometimes bemused. In her last column, which was published three days before she died, she wrote about being hospitalized (with pneumonia) on Dec. 2.

If she’d had her way, Missy wrote, her friend Barbara would have driven her to Cabaline Country Emporium and Saddlery to look at some shoes, but Barbara instead drove her to the West Marin Medical Center.

Missy ended up in Kaiser’s Terra Linda hospital for a week and then stayed briefly with a friend before returning to Kaiser. In her final column she thanked everyone who had come to her assistance, adding, “Take good care of yourself… and it’ll keep you around almost longer than my 84 years.”