As I look at the calendar sitting on my office wall, I am amazed at how quickly 2019 came and went. The year 2020 is upon us, and I am trying hard to comprehend another decade is upon us.
As for me, 2019 saw lots of changes, with many great things happening in my life. Please indulge me as I reflect on some of the good things happened over the past year, and then I’ll publicly put forth some personal goals for the coming year.
The year began with a trip to the Florida Keys in January. I had not been there in over a decade, and I felt compelled to go back. I love the Keys — always have and always will. There is something about the tropical breezes, the turquoise water and the brilliant sunsets that stirs emotions in me that very few others do. I took my first sunset cruise out of Key West in January on a beautiful 75-degree night. The sunset was spectacular, and I got to see the green flash at sunset. It is a night I will remember forever.
A few months later, I had a couple of surprise visitors from the Wolverine state. My sister and niece came to visit and get out of the miserable Michigan winter. I took them to Port Aransas while they were here, and I even got my sister Sharon to try a raw oyster. She almost gagged, and my niece and I howled with laughter. I also took them to the Riverwalk in San Antonio and had a mariachi band serenade them while they drank margaritas. My niece was embarrassed, but my sister was enjoying herself immensely. It was great to have family visiting.
In April, we had another successful beer festival, and I can never say thank you enough to all the sponsors, vendors and volunteers who made it all possible. We’re planning for year three now, and the event will be held on April 24-25, 2020 with some interesting wrinkles in the event.
In May, I flew to Richmond, Va. to be a part of the grand opening of the Museum of the American Civil War. My oldest daughter was very instrumental in the design and scope of the museum in its planning stages, and is one of two acting directors of the museum. She was really proud of her part in planning and designing the museum. She was even more happy to see that beautiful building open to the public. Obviously, I was one proud daddy.
At the end of June, I was smoking a cigar outside of Come and Take It, when a soothing female voice under a wide-brimmed hat and huge sunglasses whispered, “Come over here and sit down. You don’t have to sit over there by yourself.” I turned and smiled, then sat down and began a wonderful conversation with Kasey Reese. We started dating after that night, which was also the night my friend Harlo Wilkerson started dating Rosie Brown. Harlo and Rosie are getting married on New Year’s Eve, and one of my greatest regrets of all-time is that I will not be in attendance as I will be reveling with the lunatics in Key West. We tried to get out of our bookings in order to attend, but alas, $3,000 in airfare, car rental and hotels was not refundable. I will definitely have conflicting emotions that evening, and I wish my friends nothing but the best.
At the end of July and early August, Harlo and I flew to Virginia to look at a motorhome that my friend Scrumpy Jack Oblein had told me about. Scrumpy Jack is a former Navy man and now serves as the curator at the Museum of the United States Marine Corps in Quantico. Scrumpy Jack picked us up at the airport, drove us to Chesapeake Bay where the motorhome was located, and it was the beginning of a rollicking week of fun, sight seeing across the United States and many hair-brained moves by yours truly as I tried to figure out all the inner workings of the 35-foot long bus. I would like to tell y’all what happened on that journey, but then I would have to kill you. It was legendary.
In October, I got to see Cody Jinks in Corpus Christi and Willie Nelson and Jimmy Buffett in Las Vegas. A few weeks later, it was Willie Nelson again at the Majestic Theater in San Antonio, Cody Canada and the Departed at Greune Hall, then Wynonna Judd at Gruene. It was a musical dream come true.
There are many other great memories of 2019, but I could go on and on about how fortunate I was to do the things I did.
However, not everything was great. My oldest friend from elementary school, Helen Mott, suddenly died from mental illness. A few weeks later, I lost two other classmates and then last week I found that my old friend from elementary school Brian Bueche died. Their loss offsets many of the good things that happened. I have resolved that in 2020 I will stay in better touch with my old classmates.
I have also resolved I will lose the 30 pounds that I have put on since the beginning of last year. Living in the fastlane of travel has taken its toll, and I will lose the weight come hell or high water.
I have resolved to continue to travel though and plans are in the works for Galveston, Fort Worth, College Station, the Hill Country, Michigan and even England. I am not getting any younger, so there are things I want to see and do before I am too old to enjoy them.
I have resolved to get the bound volumes of the Gonzales Inquirer digitized for future generations of this area. In addition, I am going to get our building cleaned up so everyone can be proud of where they work.
There are other resolutions I should make, but I’m not sure I have the capacity to do them all or even to remember them all. But I do resolve I will try to do my best for the newspaper, for the employees who work here, and for the community I am so proud to serve and be a part of.
So Happy New Year everyone, and let’s hope Jerry Jones hires another head coach before the 2020 season.