2013 New Year's Appreciation
If you’ve been reading this space in this paper or the one that preceded it, I hope you have picked up on the character trait I find most attractive in others and most obligatory in myself: gratitude.
When I gripe, it’s often about arrogance, the antithesis of gratitude. And I praise those who respond to their good fortune by contributing above and beyond what is expected of them.
I’ve said before, and will inevitably say again, that I have been blessed in this life all out of proportion to what I merit, and it worries me sometimes that I don’t express appreciation properly.
Let me wipe the slate clean to begin a New Year, by thanking those who have made life better in 2012 for me and those I care for. Yes, I know this is chancy -- it is too, too easy to omit someone -- but that doesn’t justify omitting everyone. Into every life a little risk must fall.
• First of all, those who have seen fit to validate my efforts: Cal and Mike, who are about as comfortable a publisher and editor as any would-be writer could ask (maybe too comfortable -- they often don’t hold my feet to the proverbial fire as they should); and the occasional op-ed editors of the AJC who accept my offerings.
• Public officials who patiently return phone calls and provide information -- even when my failings sometimes embarrass them.
• The contacts who have to put up with my ineptitude in the Communication Age. I’m thinking of the likes of a county man who recently had to rummage through files to fax me five pages for the second time, after I thought I had vaporized the original transmission.
• Readers who take the time to write -- and then never hear back from me. I’m notorious for my negligence in expressing the warmth that wells up in me when I learn that someone actually reads and appreciates what I’ve written.
• Musicians and artisans who rank enrichment of spirit above personal profit.
• The too-often unheralded public (and private) servants who protect society by patrolling our neighborhoods, responding to our emergency calls, checking environmental abuses, taking our discards, delivering our mail and newspapers, and providing for the less fortunate among us.
• Assorted bank personnel, telephone technicians, computer gurus, barbers and beauticians, dental and medical technicians who ease me through sometimes troubled waters.
• Cheery souls like the staff at Waffle House, the baker of doughnuts, and food store employees, whose good humor feeds my soul even as their victuals fill my belly.
• Librarians and sellers of books and music willing to track down elusive quarries.
• Colleagues in the effort to preserve, salvage, and appreciate the dwindling resources of Planet Earth, folks whose commitment must not be allowed to waver.
• Teachers and counselors who labor on behalf of all of us to guide young people in the way they should go.
• All those who, believing in the goodness of God, gather together each week to forgive and be forgiven, to praise, to encourage one another.
• Friends (some quite young) who not only tolerate me but make me believe I am worthwhile -- friends who love me in spite of everything -- you know who you are, even if I forget to say “I love you.”
• Two fine young women who have turned out better than their mom could have dreamed they would -- every parent should have kids that make them as proud as ours have made us.
• And can I leave out Dave, that butt of my jokes, straight man to my imagined wit, payer of bills, peerless home repairman, guide and critic, preserver of my memories?
Thank you, thank you, every one, and also you whose goodness I have neglected to record. As we are all a part of each other, I know I am a far better person for your being part of me.
May your New Year be the best ever!