Well here it comes, a new year, a new decade even. This is the time for taking stock and making plans, a time for looking back at where we’ve been and charting a course for where we want to be, a time of new beginnings and second chances. Ehh.
I stopped making New Year resolutions several years ago. I wasn’t very good at keeping them so I figured, Why bother? If I didn’t make resolutions in the first place then I wasn’t disappointed when I failed to keep them. I thought that by making New Year resolutions I was just setting myself up for failure. In fact, before I stopped making resolutions all together I would go ahead and break them soon after the New Year began so as to get it over with.
I thought this plan was pretty good. It seemed to make sense at the time, make no promises, break no promises. But lately, I’ve come to realize it’s a pretty stupid plan. Actually, it was a plan to not have a plan. How’s that for not thinking things through? So, I decided this year I would do things differently and I started today.
I sat down with pen and paper and started by making a list of all the things I felt I needed to get done, all those things I’ve been putting off for one reason or another. It took a long time and the list covered both sides of a sheet of paper.
Then I thought that in order to approach this list realistically I should have some idea how long it will take. So, I made up an estimate of how much time each task would require and added them all up. Assuming no task takes longer than I estimate and no new tasks are added to the list I expect to have some free time around June of 2016.
Next, I thought in order to approach this list pragmatically I should have an idea how much it will cost. So, I researched the projects, estimated the cost of each and added them all together. After forecasting our budget, allowing for inflation predictions, probable tax increases and unexpected expenses I think it’s going to take yet another stimulus package. All in all though, I was feeling pretty good about having a plan. It was nice to have a direction even if the trail was straight up and rocky.
About that time Barbara Gayle called down from upstairs. “What are you doing?” she asked.
“Nothing,” I replied.
“Stop it,” she said.
That’s when I realized I only needed one resolution: Stop Wasting Time.
In general I believe in giving people second and sometimes even third chances to get things right. For the most part I believe people are good and decent, and yet afflicted with human frailties. I believe that given a choice most people will choose to do the right thing.
And then, there are politicians.
The politicians of today bear no resemblance to those that founded and fought for this Country. Our modern politicians bear a closer resemblance to the opossums we had back home. They would sneak around in the shadows getting into anything that smelled good to them; when they sensed conflict they’d lie down still as death until the threat passed and then scurry away; when cornered with nowhere to run they’d raise an awful stink; they’d turn and fight, but only for their own survival. I think perhaps, given the character our present day politicians evince, a new spelling of the word is called for: Opolitician.
I’ve been a fan of Ray Stevens since I was old enough to laugh, and he has done it again with this new music video titled, “We the People.” Granted, there’s nothing funny about the subject matter or the message, but Ray Stevens has a funny way of dealing with serious matters. I foresee this becoming the theme song for a lot of us in the coming months. Anybody who doesn’t love Ray is just not a Straight Up American.
On this day in 1991 Barbara Gayle sealed her fate when she uttered those two little words that change everything, “I do.” Funny thing is, when the day began neither of us had any idea what fate had in store.
I had asked her to marry me and she had said yes. We had no plans in place for when or where or how, but over breakfast that morning we decided to drive into town and start the process of the blood tests. We figured it would take several days and be one less thing to deal with later. We looked up a laboratory in the Yellow Pages and headed out.
Being so close to Christmas, the lab wasn’t very busy and to our surprise the technician said, “We’ll have your results in about an hour if you want to come back.” So, an hour later we stopped at the drive-through window, picked up our results, and learned that science agreed we were a good match.
It was still not yet Noon, and this had been way too easy, so we decided to go downtown to the courthouse and start the process of obtaining a marriage license. We figured it would take several days and be one less thing to deal with later. After filling out the proper paperwork the clerk presented us with our license and then proposed, “Being the Friday before Christmas, there’s almost nothing going on. One of the Judges upstairs might be available.”
So, we went upstairs and sure enough one of the Judges was available. They were having their office Christmas party. They shared Christmas punch and cookies with us. And, after a brief ceremony the Judge pronounced us husband and wife.
Neither of us could’ve ever imagined being married in such a way, but fate sometimes leads us down the right path according to its own schedule. We have indeed loved, honored and cherished each other in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, for better and for worse. For over eighteen years she has been my best friend, my trusted confidant and my one true love.
Regardless of how casually our marriage may have begun it is the solid foundation upon which the rest of my being stands. Her love is the burning ember within my heart that keeps the light from being extinguished. And the privilege of loving her is the compass by which I strive to be the man she deserves.
When you wake from restful slumber presume not what lies in store.
But choose right at every crossroads and arrive at destiny’s door.
It’s always nice to receive good news, and the government seems to be full of it these days. We received word just this morning that according to the Department of Labor there was no rise in the cost of living during the past year. This was really good news.
In fact, I was so relieved and elated by this news that I called up my health insurance company and explained to Betty that the forty percent increase in my premiums must have been a mistake because the Department of Labor said so. Betty is a very jolly lady and I’m pretty sure she is still laughing.
I was sure, though, that this declaration by the Department of Labor would carry some weight so I called the number for the company that delivers our propane. They recently filled the tank and I was certain they would want to know about this Comsumer Price Index thing and how it was not to cost any more to live this year than last. Paul was not so amused.
Still, I wanted to share our good fortune so I called up a friend of mine and said, “Tom, guess what, there was no rise in the cost of living during the past year! Isn’t that great news?”
And Tom, he likes numbers, he said, “Well let’s see, there’s over four million more people out of work than there was at this time last year. So, if you got nothing to live on and the cost of living is going to be the same then, well, at least you can budget for it. So yeah, I guess that is really good news.” Tom’s kind of sarcastic like that.
Still, I knew there had to be someone who would appreciate hearing this news. So, I called up my Congressman, and I said, “Hey Honorable, did you hear that there was no rise in the cost of living during the past year?”
And he said, “I say, I say, I say, that’s right boy! I worked hard this past year to keep down the rise in the cost of living. It was a constant and exhausting battle against overwhelming odds, but I fought with all my might and in the end the cost of living did not rise. I did it for the people. No need to thank me. You’re welcome. Don’t forget to vote. Are you registered?”
Finally, someone who truly appreciated the good news.