In the Suburbs: Another year ends and we begin with a clean slate
Tomorrow night another year ends and we wipe the slate clean for another 365 days. I always make these great resolutions and just can’t seem to follow any of them, but I keep hoping that one of these years I will.
So much has happened this year, but I thought I’d just mention a few things — good and bad — that made the year unforgettable. Some things are sad and some are happy and exciting. All were memorable for me.
For example, the sudden death of talented singer George Michael at 53 on Christmas weekend marked the third death of a well-known vocal artist this year. We also lost Prince and David Bowie earlier in the year. The same was true of actor Alan Thicke, who died suddenly of a heart attack barely 10 days ago. For years I enjoyed his television series, and most recently I enjoyed Thicke in a delightful Hallmark Movie.
Among the hundreds of other notables who died in 2016, the standouts for me included Nancy Reagan, Elie Wiesel, Muhammed Ali, Florence Henderson, Gene Wilder and Arnold Palmer. Each lived full and valuable lives.
On the political front, after a vicious two-year campaign, Donald Trump turned the election upside down and beat Hillary Clinton for president of the United States. While Clinton beat Trump in the popular vote, he collected more than the necessary 277 electoral votes. His victory left millions of voters asking how and why Trump pulled it off. And other voters began protesting the Trump victory immediately. Clearly, few, if any, of Trump’s flaws and antics were enough to sway his base of supporters.
As the year ends and Trump completes selecting his cabinet, we can only wait and see how this presidency will play out. I have my doubts, but only time will tell. Stay tuned for Jan. 21.
We’ve seen little of Clinton since the election, but I have to think she won’t be going away quietly. I’ll be anxious to see when and where she resurfaces in 2017 and in what capacity.
Despite President-elect Trump’s railing and condemnation of terrorism, there were some 21 terrorist attacks around the world in 2016. The deadliest on our soil occurred in June in Orlando, Fla., at an LGBT nightclub. Police were able to take down the shooter, but not before he created a sea of carnage. I’ll be interested to see how our new president follows through on his vows to reduce or wipe out terrorism.
We’ve seen a spate of police shootings over this past year, and I can only hope that our law enforcement officials and the new president will begin to bring these horror stories under control. For now, unfortunately, these incidents seem to be unending.
In our family world, thank goodness, all remains well. As we turn the calendar to 2017, we will be looking forward to a trip to China in the early summer with our daughter to pick up our new grandson. She has adopted Lun Lun, an adorable 5-year-old boy who resides in an orphanage near Beijing. We met Lun Lun in July and it was an instant love fest for his all-to-brief three-week visit. But somehow we knew that this story would have a happy ending, and it has.
My dad turned 96 in October and we were all fortunate enough to be there for a more low-key birthday celebration. Each of these events is another victory for dad and, somehow, we believe he’ll make 100.
My wife triumphed over another surgery — on her thyroid — before the summer, and we really celebrated for our 50th anniversary in New York this past summer. New York was as magical as ever, and our four-day vacation was spectacular.
It seems hard to believe that I’ve reached my 72nd year, and I really don’t feel my age. But the years seem to be flying by now, and I have so many things I want to do. Becoming a grandfather for the first time is high on my list of new discoveries for 2017, and my wife and I can’t wait to try that experience.
I have no magic resolutions for this year. Of course, I always want to lose a few pounds and I would like to make more money. But more than anything, I want to continue to be a good husband and a good friend. And I intend to make the most of 2017 as I add more discoveries and make them part of my growing quilt of life. Happy new year to all. I hope this one is the best ever.
Steven Gaynes is a Fairfield writer, and his “In the Suburbs” appears each Friday. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.