Monday, December 31, 2012

With Steel Wheels Singing....

I will provide for you and I'll stand by your side
You'll need a good companion now for this part of the ride
Yeah, leave behind your sorrows, let this day be the last
Well, tomorrow there'll be sunshine and all this darkness past
Today 2012 comes to an end.  Finally.  At times it seemed as if there were considerably more than 366 days in it.  Perhaps it was just that there were too many terrible days this year.  Too many "Boy I hope I never see something like this happen again" days....until the next one. 
2012 was a year in which death visited Margaret's family again - this time coming for the seemingly indestructible Uncle Sal.   I watched good friends suffer losses as well.  It seemed to be a year in which good people buried their fathers.  The optimist in me hopes that 2013 reverses that trend.  The realist in me knows that the movement of 2013 to the fore shall have little effect upon it.
Selfishly speaking, 2012 was not a bad year at all.  Sure, it had its down moments.  Every year does.  But it was also - for our little family unit - a year of tremendous highs and great promise.  Yesterday afternoon, with cold, windy weather having driven me inside and onto the treadmill as opposed to running outdoors, I spent a couple of minutes looking at the photographs that line the walls of our office (it is actually a spare bedroom but we euphemistically refer to it as an "office" as if actual work has ever been performed in it).  Among the photos that caught my eye was one from a lifetime or two ago - the day I was sworn in as a member of the New Jersey Bar. 
December 1994
December 1994 was a long time ago.  I like that photograph - and not just because I have no gray hair either on my head or on my chin.  I like it because it serves as a reminder that time - for all of its harshness - has its benefits.  Chief among them is that when we look backward at the path on which we have travelled to get to this particular point in time, the memories that are rekindled are often wonderful ones. 
Life is a forward-moving enterprise of course.  So, while photographs are useful tools in marking time - and helping us retrace our steps they are also useful tools in helping mark the road ahead....

Christmas 2011
Those two little kids in that long-ago photo from a December afternoon almost two decades ago are all grown up.  And as 2012 cedes the stage to 2013 Suzanne shall take the next important step in her life:  she will marry Ryan - the outstanding young man who is her life's love.  Before 2013 closes, I shall add a new title to my resume:  father-in-law.  It is a role that I am looking forward to playing next year....and again in 2014 when Rob and Jess - who is simply extraordinary - get married. 
Yes, this train carries saints and sinners
This train carries losers and winners
This train carries whores and gamblers
This train carries lost souls

I said, this train carries broken-hearted
This train, thieves and sweet souls departed
This train carries fools and kings thrown
This train, all aboard

I said, now this train, dreams will not be thwarted
This train, faith will be rewarded
This train, the steel wheels singing
This train, bells of freedom ringing.
And it shall carry us forward - this train on which we are all riders.  It shall carry us forward into 2013.  May it bring you and yours into the new year healthy and happy.  And may it keep you so not only on New Year's Day but on all the days that shall follow behind it. 

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