In a couple of days, we will start another New Year. The media is filled with recommendations for resolutions, how not to make resolutions, and a host of other thoughts. It is also filled with looking back on a year that has been extremely eventful, both positive and negative.
When I began writing this article toward the end of November, my intention was to be transparent when so many times during the holiday season, a simulated form of joy is thrown into people's faces whether they like it or not.
I was going to tell you about a person I knew who passed away right before Thanksgiving and its sudden shock (because there was no illness present, etc.) and almost-disbelief.
"And if I was feeling that surprised," I wrote, "then I could only imagine--or perhaps I couldn't even fathom--how the family was feeling."
â€śWe just got up on Christmas morningâ€¦and weâ€™d usually have an apple and orange in our stockings. That was about the only time we ever had oranges. I can smell an orange to this day, and it always makes me think of Christmas. We didnâ€™t get many toys. We got necessities.â€ť
Over the days and weeks ahead, the Congress of the United States will be wrestling with the deficit, automatic budget reductions, and a possible end to income tax cuts, as well trying to keep from going over the so called â€śfiscal cliffâ€ť. They will weigh reductions in one area of the budget versus another. Buried within all the confusion and with no major news coverage are some almost invisible Medicare provisions that could make the difference in whether many rural hospitals in Texas can keep their doors open.
Despite the carols encouraging love and good will, the sermons and surface greetings, the holiday season is one of the most dangerous times of year. Perhaps it is our distraction with the many things we want to accomplish, perhaps something else, but statistics show that this time of year is quite hazardous to life, limb and property.
Having followed the recent troubles of Hostess, I thought I would point out a few things about that story which aren't getting the emphasis they might deserve.
Many of us are starting this week with a light heart. Most employees will have Thursday and Friday as holidays to celebrate Thanksgiving. Somehow, this holiday that we were taught was a special time to express our gratitude for the blessings of life has become the extended shopping weekend for Christmas, something which is neither appropriate nor complimentary of the day. We owe more than we can ever pay to those who were involved in the celebration of the first Thanksgiving â€“ the least we can do is make the time to remember them.
After seeing the results of Tuesday's election, I find myself in the position of hoping I was wrong about the direction our country is headed and that Barack Obama will be the pro-drilling, pro deficit-reducing, politically compromising, job creating, conservative he campaigned as. Unfortunately, I don't think that's going to happen, what I really expect is four more years of "the same" (as the last four years) except on steroids.
There is enough raw material in today for several columns. Looking in chronological order, the Mayflower Compact was signed on November 11, 1620, Veteranâ€™s Day (formerly Armistice Day) will also be celebrated on the 11th, and, as a nation, we have just completed a historic election â€“ one fraught with more vitriol than any in recent memory. Then again, perhaps all three of these events have a common, positive thread.