2010 didn’t go gently into that good night
There are many things I’d like to forget about 2010, and the way it ended was no exception.
Perhaps it was appropriate for a year defined by bad weather to end with thunderstorms and flash floods, but I would have gladly settled for a dull and uneventful evening.
Our family normally welcomes the new year with enough fireworks to wage war on a neighboring county, but this year the Patterson household wasn’t in a celebratory mood. I was on the third day of a flu-like illness that had pretty much rendered me helpless, and my wife Jamie wasn’t feeling so good herself.
Most of her problem was that our three-year-old son James was feeling just fine, which meant she’d been having to chase him around by herself for three days. Normally she’s up for the challenge, but being five months pregnant slows her down considerably, and she claims that I can be difficult when I’m sick.
“It’s like having two babies,” she said several times over the weekend. I, of course, dispute those charges. Clearly she did not comprehend the severity of my illness.
But young James eventually ran out of energy, and Jamie took him to bed with her. I remained on the couch glued to the weather radar as there were still tornado warnings for our area. Fortunately Yazoo County avoided any tornados for once, but the heavy rains and wind took a toll in some places.
During the worst of the downpour, I noticed it started sounding like it was raining inside the house. After pulling myself from the couch and hobbling across the floor (a chore in my feverish state), I noticed that it indeed was raining inside the house - right onto the floor of the kitchen. The heavy wind and rain had apparently damaged the roof.
I was placing pitchers under the falling water and slipping around on the wet tile like I was on roller skates when I noticed the clock on the oven and realized that it was the dawn of a new year. It wasn’t the fireworks I had in mind, but it probably would have been just as entertaining if you could have been there to see it.
Despite 2010’s best effort to take me out with it, I am alive and well. Being sick for several days gave me plenty of time to think, so I used some of that time to help me come up with some resolutions to help make me a better man in 2011. Here are some of the better ones:
n I’m going to stop worrying about things that don’t really matter. I’m a study in contradictions on this one. I can experience a variety of real setbacks and laugh about it all, and then get bent out of shape about some trivial matter.
For example I recently got my truck stuck, discovered that my cell phone was dead and only after walking for half an hour through the freezing cold realized that I had left behind the key that I would need to get in the house once I finally made it there.
I laughed about that, but a couple of days later I was mad as a hornet because some things had fallen through and I wasn’t satisfied with the newspaper we were about to send to press. That same paper got numerous compliments from readers, leaving me to wonder what I was so worried about.
n I’m going to try to be more patient. This is a resolution that I have broken many times, but maybe that was really just an unexpected lesson in patience.
n I’m not going to be affected by negative people. There are people who no matter what happens they are going to be in crisis mode and looking at everything in the worst possible light. This type of person usually blames everyone else for their problems and finds something to complain about even during the best of times. I try to avoid such people whenever possible, because that’s the total opposite of my personality.
I’ve never let this kind of person influence me to their way of thinking, but I have sometimes gotten overly annoyed by their behavior. From now on I hope to be able to just pray for them and move along.
n I’m going to spend even less time on things like television and the Internet and pay more attention to things that really matter like my family and my friends.
n I’m going to work on being the best father that I can be. I am confident that my son would tell you that I already do a pretty good job. Being his Dad is my greatest joy and top priority, but things are going to change around here in 2011. We just learned that we’re going to have a girl, and that’s going to be a life changing experience for me.
I didn’t have any sisters, and quite frankly little girls have always been a total mystery to me. Big ones too really.
It’s going to be a totally new experience, but it’s one that I couldn’t be more excited about.
n I'm going to keep working to improve this newspaper. If I ever reach a point where I don’t think we’re moving forward, I promise you that I will resign and do something else.
n I’m going to learn when to shut up. They teach you in journalism 101 that if you want people to read the entire article just get to the point as quickly as possible, and here I am going on like I’m writing a novel.
Happy New Year!