The Star-News


Plenty of people to thank in the year gone by

Sat, Jan 01 2011 12:00 PM Posted By: Richard Pena

As we sit down to write this piece we note by the calendar that it will be dated Dec. 31, the last day of the year. The year 2010, we can safely say, is laid to rest, a part of history that may, or may not be lamented, but history, nevertheless.

It seems that at New Year's time everyone looks forward to that new year. Folks insert all sorts of expectations.

We dress up the new year in the diaper and we give him that happy smile of confidence and he enters stating, "Here I am. Your troubles are over."

We send out the old year as a withered old man with a clock that is quickly running out of sand and usher him out with little or no ado. It's traditional and we can't halt it and probably would not even if we could.

So, most folks, along about this time will be looking forward to 2011 and wondering what sort of resolutions they might make to improve theirs, and other lives. I used to do this. But I once smugly declared that how could one improve on that which was practically perfect and went on and made resolutions for other people.

I later realized that this was rather presumptuous on my part and dropped that approach. Why not look back at the past year and comment on those individuals and things that might have made one's year a success?

When one considers the most important part, our health, we would have to say that 2010 was successful. Both members of this household have had reasonably good, if not exuberant health the entire year. Oh, we have had the usual sniffles, coughs and aches and pains that come with age but no major breakdowns, no busted bones, no hospital stays or lingering maladies. Each morn we have awakened, greeted the day with a fair amount of glee and went on about our business. This has not, however, happened by accident. We have to appreciate the efforts of others who have pitched in on our behalf, and set us on the right path, those dedicated folks like Dr. John Dodge our primary care physician and our care-givers, Patty Atkinson and Carmen Otero and others. Without this aid everything else would be nil.

We are also grateful for the denizens of Sweetwater Manor. Muriel Watson and Juanita Stone, for example, have flanked us as next door neighbors for more than 50 years and there has never been an unkind word spoken. Our spirits are lifted when we see Carol Bell, Gayle Fredsti and Jane Davies exercising their dogs with a morning walk. Hilda Edeen and Dick and Faye Van Beeman are always ready to lend a hand as are the Osborn's, Gary and Sue, and the Peddies, and LaNelle Kidd and Virginia Roth. And, of course, LaRayne and Don Hinkle. If this were a Mexican village we would have to say that Don Hinkle was the patron. I have to be kind to Don; he is the only one I know who is older than me.

We cannot say enough about the Merrie Ukes. The group is not only composed of some of the nicest folks in town but folks who can make beautiful music.

The leader, John Porner, who also doubles as my driver when I have an appointment across town, has assembled a score or more of folks who readily go out and entertain at Fredericka Manor, Villa Bonita, the Veteran's Home, and other such places making things a bit more palatable for those less fortunate.

In spite of arthritic fingers they have made me welcome in their ranks and I am able to mingle with the likes of Olivia, the Stricklands, Cal, Jim, Meilani, Sue, Ellie, Kay and many others. And, while on the subject of music, I have to include Jim and Marilyn Doyle who can brighten anyone's day.

It is uplifting to associate with past members of the teaching profession even if it is only at luncheons, bridge games and the golf course.

For years we have been associated with the Bridge Brigade, a group of retired educators who meet monthly. Folks like Betty Austin, Donna Ciolli, Marlene Giles, Jean Laughlin, Lois Rocek and many others are professionals who once guided youngsters, but who now guide folks such as me, improving our life. Then there is George Forbes, Don Jackson, Al Whipple, and Sy Silver, the remnants of REGA, the golf group who still allows me to join in a few holes even though I, more or less, just wave at the ball with my driver.

I, of course, have to include my family, David and Terri, Margaret and Gregg, Coni and Frank, and grandkids, Travis and Kristin, who regularly visit us and, of course, support us.

And like a family there is also The Star-News leaders and staff, Linda Townson, Margo Caffrey, Carlos Davalos and all the others who, over the years, have lent me support and encouragement and made me a mainstay of page 4.

And lastly, I have to acknowledge the most important segment to a contented life: you, the reader of this space without whose approval and support all this would be for naught.

So let's ring out the chimes and greet 2011 with open arms.

It is going to be the best year yet.


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