I promised myself all week that I was going to go against the cliche and
write a non-New-Year's-resolutions-based column.
I even had an outline written up about pet peeves of driving.
Yet, as I sat in church just a few hours before my self-imposed writing deadline, a new column came to me, and it just so happened to be related to resolutions.
So, as I wish you a blessed and happy new year, I'll also apologize for not breaking out of the mold.
While the results of Santa's "Naughty-'n'-Nice" list have already been revealed, I gave myself a few extra days to put the finishing touches on my own version of the list.
And given the more serious nature of my recent columns, I decided it'd be fun â€” definitely for myself, and hopefully for my readers, too â€” to look back on the things that I deemed nice and the things that I deemed naughty for 2012.
This list is, of course, far from exhaustive, as my longest list would probably include thousands and thousands of items.
When the sun broke through the clouds and rose on Saturday morning â€” Dec. 22, 2012 â€” the old Mayan prophecy â€” which was never really a prophecy but just the end of a calendar â€” was proven untrue.
Thousands, if not millions, of people worldwide were convinced that the end of the Mayan calendar meant the end of the world, but the sun came up Saturday morning... We made it.
Jokes started bouncing around social media sites, with most directed at mocking the believers.
One of my favorite Christmas movies of all time has always been the Chevy Chase classic "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation," in addition to "A Christmas Story," which is about Ralphie and the Red Rider BB Gun that he wanted for Christmas.
My reasons for being a fan of the latter is because it was shot in my hometown of Cleveland, Ohio.
I love the shots of Ralphie and his brother as they are sitting on Santa's lap in Higbee's Department Store in downtown Cleveland, just as I did as a young lad many years ago.
My first hunting season since 1996 turned out to be a failure â€” at least if you judge success or failure of a hunt on bagging a buck. But all my quiet time â€” or not-so-quiet-time some days â€” gave me lots of time to think.
And as a writer, I spend plenty of quiet times thinking about how I can turn my experiences into columns, stories and general life lessons.
So, after a full week of thought, I thought it would be appropriate to share with you just a few of the many lessons I learned this hunting season.
â€˘ No matter the setting, sunrises are amazing.
So, what's the deal with sharks?
Sharks have been the feared subject of many blockbuster movies, and even have a week dedicated to them every summer on television.
But I am calling sharks out, because they have become lame in recent years and are no longer the scary king of the sea they once were considered.
I fear that if something is not done, sharks will be talked about in the same sentences as the mighty mollusks, the most boring sea creatures of all.
There were only 79 unprovoked shark attacks in 2010, and only 6 people died as a result.
December 12, 2012.
Today is a very special day, as not only is it a once-every-100-years kind of day, with the next 12-12-12 not slated to take place until December 12, 2112, it's also the last of 12 consecutive years with "perfect" days in them.
There will be no 13-13-13. It just doesn't happen. The next perfect day will fall on January 1, 2101 â€” which will mark my brother's 116th birthday.
So, unless by some miracle I live to be about 119 years old, this will be the last perfect day in my lifetime. And that's likely the case for most of us.
Last week, I wrote the first memorial column I've ever written specifically for someone who I cared for who had passed away.
This week, sadly, I'm writing my second.
Last Monday morning, as my other column was just reaching mailboxes and I was just waking from an early morning nap after some time in the woods, I received a phone call I'd been dreading for months now.
Harriet M. "Hattie" Getch, belovedly known by so many as just "Grammy Great," had gone home to be with her loving Father in Heaven. Her pain and suffering in this world was no more.
My paraphrase of an old saying I think to be true: "Though some only enter our lives for a season, everyone who enters does so for a reason."
This week, I received news from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary â€” from where I attained my master's degree in religious studies â€” that back in October, a woman who had entered a lot of lives and made a difference in so many passed on to be with her Maker.
By the time this paper makes its way off the press and into your hands, I'll already be sitting in the woods beneath an old hemlock tree on the family farm awaiting the arrival of "the big 'un."
Last year, I wrote a column wishing well the hunters who were setting out bright and early to land their prize bucks.
But this year, after feeling the itch like I hadn't felt it since 1998, according to my last valid license, I decided to be a part of the story this year instead of a spectator.
As a man, there just seems to be something deep inside of me drawing me to the hunt.