Looking Back

photo by steve newvine

photo by steve newvine

Just about every newspaper or magazine I read in late December or early January is filled with lists of the best and worst things of the year.  This is the time most of us look back on what went well in the past twelve months, reflect on why some things did not go as planned, and reset our life journey GPS for the next fifty-two weeks.Over the years, I’ve grown accustomed to listing the top ten things in many areas of my life.  Past columns have shared with you my top ten favorite Christmas songs, holiday movies, things for which I am thankful, and even books I bought from a store that was closing.

Permit me to list ten things that happened to me in the past year.  Some are not necessarily accomplishments.  A few are sad.  You have been warned.  Read on, and remember these are in no particular order.

Thanks to the good people at Love INC in Merced, I met some very special ladies who participated in the Love Plus program this fall.  Love Plus pairs up people in need with mentors, while providing classes on such things as personal finance and job preparedness.  These women were my best audience ever for my lectures on Soft Skills for Hard Times.

My Dad celebrated his eightieth birthday surrounded by his children, three of his grandchildren, his brother, a few friends, and other family members.  Thanks to judicious use of my vacation time and frequent flyer miles, I was able to fly to my hometown to be part of the celebration.

Two friends of mine, Dan and Rick, died within three months of one another, both from complications related to kidney disease.  I was honored to be asked to write a eulogy for Dan, and read with great pride of Rick’s acknowledgment of a moment in his life when I helped him understand that he needed no apology for the life he lived. 

A version of Dan’s eulogy was published here a few months ago.  

Click here to read

My friend Dan. 

Click here to read:

I wish you had met Rick.

Rick’s blog entry about the early years of our friendship is here: http://rickwestermanbellinger.wordpress.com/author/rickwestermanbellinger/page/4/

The game I enjoy so much saw me through forty-nine of the year’s fifty-two weeks.  I resolved two years ago to play golf every week.  I missed the mark by about five weeks in 2012 and missed it by only three in 2013.

My wife and I celebrated thirty-three-and-a-third years of marriage in November; 25th is the silver anniversary, 50th is gold, 33 1/3 should be vinyl just like a long-playing record album playing the classic music we love to hear.  

Thanks to a chance meeting of my first mentor in broadcasting, and inspired by the passing of another radio mentor, the novel Sign On at Sunrise became my seventh published book.  The book is a fictionalized account based on the three years I worked at an upstate New York radio station in the 1970’s.

In March, I called the person who hired me at my current company to thank her again for taking a chance on me seven years ago.  I call her every year on the anniversary of my hiring, even though she is no longer with the company.

In spite of visits with our daughters Alison and Colleen in the past year, it’s never enough.  Those of you with family living near your home, cherish that gift.

With cheap long-distance rates, email, Facebook, and even an occasional snail-mail notecard, I try to stay connected with as many friends, former co-workers, and relatives as I can.

I return to the radio airwaves on January 4 and 5 with a discussion of my books with Community Conversations host Nathan Quevedo. 

Listen to KYOS 1480 AM on Saturday, January 4th at 7 PM and Sunday, January 5th at 10 AM. It will be available later on the station’s web site at www.mercedcommunityconversations.com and on the KYOS web site at http://www.1480kyos.com/. 

Steve Newvine lives in Merced.