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Opinion column: Hereís to 2014

Posted: Wednesday, Jan 8th, 2014


Photo/ Bud Patterson


I hope you had a great and joyous holiday, spending time with family and friends. My grandson, Popeye, let the spirit of Christmas overtake him and had to crash for a little while to get over the excitement of the event. Donít let the picture fool you, though. He recovered in plenty of time to continue his Christmas reign over the festivities.

Though this was his second Christmas, last year didnít count; he wasnít walking yet, and all he really cared about was eating and having a clean diaper. I would have put sleeping on the list, but Popeye evidently believes the need for sleep is overrated. Even when he turns into a zombie with attitude, sleep is something he will fight to the bitter end.

The look of Christmas at our house this year was quite different than in recent years. It reminded me of Christmas 22 years ago when our daughter was Popeyeís age, when the word ďnoĒ was more of a motivation than a deterrent.†

My wife should have her own HGTV show dedicated†solely†to decorating for Christmas. During a typical Christmas season, she will have two or three nativity†scenes strategically and tastefully placed throughout the house. Wreaths, garland and bows decorate windows, doors and walls, adding color and warmth to the rooms, and there is always a beautiful seasonal centerpiece for the dining table.

This year, Christmas tree decorations were placed only from the angel to about mid-tree, just out of armís reach. Stockings were hung 8 feet from the floor, along with garland and wreaths. The only nativity scene she set out this year was on top of our 7-foot China cabinet. And the dining table centerpiece was still beautifully arranged, but it was thinner than usual so it would be more difficult for him to reach when he climbed on the dining chairs.

Next year, we are cautiously optimistic that Popeye will have learned that no means no. But he is an awful lot like his mother; no is perceived as an option rather than a non-negotiable. My wife also decorates for Easter, so we should have a pretty good clue as to how high or low the spirit of Christmas can be shown.

As for New Yearís, I hope youíve made realistic and obtainable resolutions. Personally, I donít make resolutions anymore; Iíve gotten pretty used to myself the way I am. I think most people that know me are also used to me the way I am, so I donít want to rock any boats by making any drastic changes in appearance or behavior.

But there are few things I do try to do year in and year out and, like any resolution or commitment, I have varying degrees of success with them on any given day. First, I want to be the kind of husband my wife needs me to be. Often, misplaced resolutions focus on changing someone else, usually without much success.

Second, I want to be the father my daughter needs me to be. And now there is a third resolution added to the list, trying to be the grandfather that Popeye needs me to be.†

I wish I was more successful, year in and year out, at these three ambitions. One of the hardest commandments given us is to put the needs of others ahead of our own. I only know of one person who was ever completely successful at it.†

So, I guess my resolution is to keep plugging away at it.

Whatever your resolution is this year, I wish you success at it and that you pursue it fearlessly and responsibly.

Happy New Year.

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