December has finally arrived and 2022 is almost at an end.
I cannot wait for this year to be over.
This has been a tough year for me, both professionally and personally, and I’m looking for brighter and better days in 2023.
The year started off with the loss of a couple of key employees, one to retirement, and the other to another job. Even this magazine had its share of problems, to the point that some months I was not certain we would be able to get it published.
We have had to deal with paper shortages (apparently a strike in Finland helped cripple the world’s paper supply), skyrocketing paper prices, and then our printer canceled our contract with little notice. (Something about being too big for their business model.)
This year’s runaway inflation has wreaked havoc on our operating budget, much like it has done to just about every business in the country. Luckily, I have a great staff and they worked hard to help us navigate these many hiccups in 2022. Some stepped up to take promotions, while others added to their job duties until we could get new personnel in place. I am proud of them and the job they do. After this year, I have no doubt that I have the best cooperative statewide staff in the country.
Personally, the year started off with a hospital stay and two stents for my heart. I now have a diet that basically is, “if it tastes good, spit it out.” I must confess, I cheat. Between my wife and my administrative assistant, I feel like I am under 24-hour surveillance. I found myself slipping out the back door of my office and making a stealth run to a nearby Krystal. After that, I would drive to Ridgeland City Park and eat the small burgers in solitude before disposing of the evidence in a park trash can. It was exhilarating to be living so dangerously.
I have also dealt with the loss of some close family members, including my father. My mom recently moved in with us, after a long hospital stay, and we are working to rebuild her strength so that she can return home soon.
My wife had a much-needed knee replacement, which left me as a “care giver,” not exactly my strong suit. Oh, and for those of you who think your children will be helpful — ours fled the house like rats from a sinking ship. (I have been in contact with my attorney, and we are making some changes in the will.)
If you ever find yourself with a strong desire to take a pillow and smother the one that you love, take a deep breath, and make a Krystal run. I promise you will feel much better.
The year did have some bright spots, especially during the month of May. My two oldest children, Michael and Katlyne, both graduated from The University of Southern Mississippi. I shot my lowest score for 18 holes of golf. Melissa and I celebrated our 33rd wedding anniversary.
Everyone has problems. Some of you have had a bad 2022, some of you, after really thinking about it, realize maybe it wasn’t as bad as you thought. I have always believed that whatever problems I have, they pale in comparison to the problems of others. I am blessed, even though sometimes, I forget that I am.
As the year ends and we celebrate Christmas, let us remember that with Christmas comes hope. It’s not just about food, fellowship, and presents.
For Christians, Christmas should remind us that God sent us a savior, not to just give us hope for this life, but hope for what lies ahead. Yes, we will encounter tough times, but we do not have to endure them alone. He will be with us.
So, I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and a much better 2023!