Happy New Year—and All That Jazz

Well, we’re almost there—down to the wire for another year—going, going, gone. As the song went in “Fiddler on the Roof,” “sunrise, sunset, slowly drifting away, one season following another…”

Part of my Christmas was spent retracing the many spaces from my childhood. I visited friends from “way back from high school” who still live in the same East Texas town. My, my, my– have the pecan trees grown. Back in the early 1900s there was a Boy Scout project that gave every resident two or three small sapling pecan trees. Now those little saplings are towering 50 feet and taller with branches hanging over rooftops and forming a canopy over narrow streets. Pecans are free everywhere—just bend over and pick them up—compared to $6.99 a pound at Wal-Mart. I visited the old home place where my paternal grandmother lived. She died in 1995 at age 95 but the black walnut trees are still producing on our 180 acres of land. I picked up several bags of walnuts to eat later. I’m going to visit a “hicca” (hickory) nut tree later on. When I was growing up foraging for assorted nuts in the winter was our daytime snack. I am still looking for a berry we ate called the Black Hall. They ripened in the winter and turned your lips blue black, but boy were they a tasty treat. I happened upon a persimmon tree and ate a big juicy one. I walked down a few long forgotten lanes to look at the red birds. It was a treat to just stand quietly amid the tall trees and listen to the silence, broken only by the varied calls and songs of assorted birds. There is something to be said for living close to nature. There is something soothing to the soul to get away from noise. There is something humbling to look into a pitch black sky, away from city lights, and gaze upon the billions of stars in the sky. My God!! So few of us look up anymore. Most of us are looking down at electronic gadgets. What a shame!

I visited the cemetery where most of my relatives are buried. So many generations going back to slavery are buried there. There is a sense of sadness, and acceptance of one’s own mortality walking through a cemetery. Many headstones have photos of the deceased—reminding us all that we are indeed just passing through this realm. None of want to go “gently into that good night” but sooner or later we will. Cemeteries remind us of the precious gift of life. They also make us acutely aware that we should be good stewards of the breath of life. Everyday should be a celebration of the gift of life and the ability to do our best—as long as we can. Life is for positive and productive living. Life is too precious to spend one moment hating. I’m learning to stop hating Donald Trump—he will stand before God and account for his life just like the rest of us.

Amid my visits to country lanes, nursing homes, and cemeteries I met small children along the way. One 4 year- old told pointed to Rudolph the Reindeer and asked me if I knew he had a sister. I said no I didn’t and she asked me, “Don’t you know anything?” Children make us laugh. Then there was precious 2-year old China whose smile would put the lights on a Christmas tree to shame. Children are reminders that the world is still full of hope and promise. Children remind us that we have a special obligation to shun selfish greed and to serve humanity. We owe our children a world free of hatred and strife. Children deserve a world in which they can play and laugh.

I’m not making any resolution for 2018. I found a few 2018 calendars but I’m not writing a bunch of “gonna do” stuff on them. I going to live by the motto “success in life is obeying God.” That is sufficient for my each day, every day, for the rest of my days.

Happy New Year Everyone!!

Copyright 2017 – L. Arthalia Cravin. All rights Reserved. No part of this commentary may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the author.

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