As I count down and look back on the year I guess the thing that comes to the foremost inner thoughts in my mind is that I am just happy that I’m still among the living. It seems we have lost so many to this year that will be known as 2012. It will be known as a year when school children lost their lives to a terrible shooting, when a president who was not so popular but the known went back into office and when we watched a president cry on television. It will be known as a year of last as in there will not be in my lifetime again a date such as 12/12/12. This year will be known for so many things by so many. I lost an uncle. I have cousins who’ve lost their husbands, schoolmates who blessed us with their presence this time last year that we shall never enjoy their company in this life again, and children that lost their parents and parents that lost their children. It was a year when a beautiful voice, Whitney Houston, went silent and the New Year Count down king, Dick Clark, took his final count. No one has to wonder who shot JR, but one has to wonder at the great talents laid to rest in Andy Griffith, Sherman Hemsley, Richard Dawson, Donna Summers, Kitty Wells and of course Andy Williams. It was a year the world was thought to end just because some Mayan got tired of making a calendar that went well beyond his life expectancy. It’s been a year when I’ve seen the Christmas spirit very much so alive in the giving nature and in the decorations that are all around us. All years have great meaning to them for we have lived them. We have loved in them and cried in them. We have welcomed new life and laid life to rest. We have made new friends and lost friends to stupid ignorance. I have faced my troubles in 2012, but I have lived through them to this point. I know there is still a week left so no one’s guaranteed a new year. Of all the things in this year I know though I have been assured over and over that I have been blessed by good friends like Joe, Vincent, Karen, Jackie, Ida and Chris who’ve stood the test of time over and over. I have renewed friendships from days gone by. I have welcomed new friends with open arms like Melissa, Bean, Joe L, Dalia and Stephanie. I have been reminded what a wonderful brother I have in Ritchie and how lucky I am to have had two loving parents such as my mom and dad. My mom and dad celebrated fifty years of marriage in this year of 2012. There are so many things to be grateful for even within the sorrows that befell us. There were babies born, such as the one to my cousin Anna, Ms. Holly. There is another baby that may or may not bless us with his presence before 2013 for my cousin Matt and his wife Tracy. Life is definitely a balancing act of good and bad and we must somehow learn to live in the middle for our own sanity. It would be easy I think at this time of year to get depressed and fall into a black cloud of pity and pain. It’s a season where we miss so many people that have gone on. I know I’ve been a little melancholy myself as my friend Rob was here visiting this time last year and I feel him everywhere around me. What I would want is for each of you to hold onto each other. Find a way to make this the best Christmas you can with the best memories you can because who knows if you will get the chance again next year. 2012 epic in its own right.