New Year’s reflections

Foster Park in the winter
Foster Park in the winter

I didn’t think it was that cold this morning that most of the other walkers and joggers would stay in bed.

But Foster Park was virtually deserted. The “guys” weren’t out. That’s the group of black friends who walk together and visit every day. Maybe they’ll be out later.

I covered my usual four-plus miles. Dave, my physical therapist, told me I could return to jogging in March.

My wife Toni and I stayed home New Year’s day. Of course, I headed for the park and a vigorous walk first thing. We shared a light dinner in the evening, after the news. Then we watched a modern version of a Sherlock Holmes story on TV. Conan Doyle wouldn’t approve.

This winter, we’ve been lucky. No snow. I say lucky because I lost interest years ago in sledding and skiing. Snow can make my joggings treacherous even though I wear spikes on my running shoes.

The turn in the calendar to another year doesn’t have me trying to think of a couple of resolutions. I concluded some years ago that I probably am about as good as I’m going to get. Anyway, I know that once I return to jogging, my weight will inch back to where my old pants will fit again.

By now, at age 77, I’ve learned to take things one day at a time. Most of the time I’m pretty content. I might join Toni to go to the mall. But I can seldom think of something I need. I do the grocery shopping at Kroger’s every week because I enjoy getting out of the house.

I simply follow Toni’s list for purchases, deviating rarely for something I think she forgot or might like.

With the beginning of a new year, her life has taken on a new turn. Her term as congregational president of our Unitarian congregation has ended. She remains, though, on the church board. For her, I’m pretty sure the change means more time to quilt.

Friends invited us to join them New Year’s Eve. They’re both retired now, Jan from teaching and Steve as vice chancellor at the university. They’re moving to the New Jersey coast to be near one of their kid’s family.

We weren’t the only people who left the party before ringing in the new year. By 11 p.m. I realize I’m pretty much ready for bed and probably not making any sense in conversation with our hosts’ other guests.

Even lacking resolutions, I do look forward to this coming year. Son John is getting married to this really nice woman named Cynthia. (Aren’t we lucky to love in-laws?) Daughter Robyn recently started a new teaching job, Spanish as always. She says she loves her new students.

Within days or a few weeks, Toni and I will start planning our vacations and travel for the coming year. A week at the Chautauqua Institution in western New York? I’ve always said that planning vacation trips is more fun than the actual trip.

For my part, I’m thinking about writing a new book. I’ll try to get to it before the end of January. If not, I have the luxury of not having an editor bugging me to produce copy.

Meantime, I manage to not write about the news. I can’t say the violence appears any greater than when I was commenting every day on international and national events. Like everybody else who follows the news, I find it all distressing and pointless.

At my age, the challenge is to stay as healthy as I’m able. So in the morning I’ll be back in the park, taking note of how high the river has lately become and greeting any friends, regulars on the trail, with a hearty “Happy New Year.”

I promise to do my best to make it one.

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