Looking back on the year, I find it helpful to reflect a handful of things that turned out rather well.
A top ten list helps focus some of the most important things that happened in my life in the year. In no particular order, here is my top ten.
1. In March, four generations came together at our home in Merced to celebrate three birthdays. The birthdays were for my oldest daughter, my father-in-law who turned ninety, and my sixtieth.
2. Due to a change in a living situation that brought my in-laws under our roof as permanent residents, my wife and I did a staycation week in July. We did a series of day trips in Merced and surrounding counties. We saw San Luis Reservoir, San Joaquin Valley National Cemetery, and Oakdale Cheese while exploring the countryside.
3. I played at least one 9-hole round of golf every week throughout the year.
4. California Back Roads – Stories from the Land of the Palm and the Pine became my eleventh published book.
5. I met one of my country music heroes, the legendary Whisperin’ Bill Anderson, before his performance at the Gallo Center in Modesto.
6. The presentation of my lecture of Soft Skills for Hard Times was done for both the spring and fall sessions of Love Plus, a life skills training program of Love INC Merced.
7. My car turned over to 100,000 miles after six years of service on the main highways and back roads of California. This is the second car purchased new in California that has made that six-figure milestone over the past thirteen years.
8. My grandson, who will be three in January, visited California for the first time in 2016. I saw him again when I flew to Colorado for Thanksgiving.
9. I woke up every day to reasonably good health. I owe a big thanks to my doctors, my wife, and daily runs through the trail network in my neighborhood.
10. A great neighborhood makes a lot of difference and we have that here in our cul de sac in Merced. Whether it was a Fourth of July picnic, the gift of strawberry preserves or something from a garden, or just knowing we could pick up the phone and ask a favor, we’ve got the best of everything in our little corner of the world.
My best wishes to you for this holiday season and 2018.
Steve Newvine lives in Merced.
He’s published California Back Roads, available in paper and e-book editions at Lulu.com .
Steve will be the lead guest on the December 23rd edition of Community Conversations at 6:05 a.m. on radio station KYOS 1480 AM