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The Ball Slides Down Again

By LC Van Savage

Well, here we are again. Seventeen years writing this column. Seventeen years of “LC’s Take” under my—OK, my elastic waistband. I’ve loved it all.

Mongo is happily snoring in our bed and I’m alone in front of the tube waiting for the Big Ball to shimmer and slide down to tell us that ’08 is gone forever, that ’09 has come mewling and screaming to life, and just like you, I am most eager to see what it will bring to all of us.

What a year, what a year. Don’t clench. I’m not going to write a long, gushy column about how I found the meaning of life and how glorious 2008 was, nor will I spew out a lot of sugary, motivational gaggos just in case things aren’t going so well for some folks reading this. Nor will I talk cheerily about New Year’s resolutions because mine mostly tank about January 3rd, so I just don’t make them anymore. At this point in my life I’ve decided that changing the way I am is just too tiresome, way too annoying, and utterly impossible so I’m done with fantasies. As my hero Popeye says, “Iyam wut Iyam” and so it shall be.

I love to bring in the New Year like this, indeed I do and it’s been this way for many many years. New Year’s Eve parties? Ugh. All that anxiety waiting for midnight to finally come, and then when it does---well, you know how it is. Those midnight, gross-out slurpy kisses delivered by people we don’t exactly know who are just a wee bit in their cups or a lot in their cups who’d never dream of swapping such potent slurps without those cups of courage on any other of the 364 days of the year. Yucko. Nope, home and warm and happy and here in Maine is the perfect way for me to bring in the New Year of 2009. I need nothing else.

2008 was a pretty good year for us. Mongo and I are having a great life with all these kids around all the time. We only have six grandchildren and I know some of you out there have lots and lots more. And I guess at 71 I probably won’t see any great-grandchildren because our boys decided to marry late and have kids even later. “Late” was their early thirties. Mongo and I had our kids in our early twenties and know what? When I see our boys and how they manage parenthood I realize there probably should be a law that no one fathers/mothers a child until they’ve arrived at least at their thirties. Our sons are great fathers because they’d lived some life before they got themselves married to great women, and then got themselves fruitful and multiplied. Smart. We got us a bunch of terrific daughters-in-law too along with those six way, way cool grandchildren, in order of appearance; Jordan, Dylan, Zoe, Darby, Tommy and Hannah, now all aged between the years of ten and five. So Mongo and I are sittin’ in the catbird seat these days, and 2009 is gonna rock!!

Can we all be optimistic about ’09? I dasn’t venture a guess. Things have been going kind of badly around our globe, haven’t they? It’s hard to completely experience personal joy about one’s life when so many suffer, and suffer so horribly and too many of us are very frightened about our futures. I’m not unaware of all that, nor do I ignore it. And yet for all the misery and awfulness, the human spirit seems to doggedly persevere and in spite of all odds, humans keep on struggling to make the world and their lives better even when it seems so hopeless. There’s a chip, a gene, a something in all of us that keeps on keeping on and even though we all know our time here on earth will eventually end, we still struggle to make our lives matter and to leave our world better for our having been here. I’ll never understand that sort of drive humans have, especially those people around our world for whom life is so filled with horror, but there it is; we have that inner engine, flame, whatever. Do we or can we succeed in life? I guess it depends on one’s definition of success.

Are you hopeful about 2009? I am, if I just don’t read and listen to the news. So much has changed in the last decades---even our vocabularies. Words and phrases have torpedoed into our lexicons we’d never dreamed of, their meanings making no sense until we force them to fit. Everything’s changed or maybe nothing has. Maybe we’re basically all still full of the same impulses and urges we felt when we scrambled up out of the sea, grew legs or wings or scales or whatever and became the critters we are today.

When the Big Ball slides down and bounces to the bottom of its short journey, and so it shall in a short time, (in about 18 minutes actually) I will have to face the fact that the woman in the mirror, moi, will be suddenly 71, so I shall avoid that mirror. I still stammer over the “seventy” word although I’m really glad to still be here in fairly good health surrounded by people I love a lot. But seventy---where did that come from? On future New Year’s day birthdays if I get any, will I be saying the “eighty” word? “Ninety”? Hmmm. Well, I’m not all that interested in knowing my future. Now is all I need and now is all I have and now is all that matters.

I wish all of you a most satisfying and joyful 2009. I hope your year will be free from worries. What’s that old song? “Don’t worry. Be happy.” I wish that for you and also wish you a most Happy, Happy New Year, folks. I send you bluebirds.

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