By Rick Jacobs
When this column goes to print, Christmas will have come and gone. The gifts have been opened and the lines to exchange or return some of them will be long and slow moving. Lights and trees will come down. Christmas music will be shelved until next year.
In a few short days, it will be just that. 2013 will be history.
Our small world, on Jan. 1, will begin again its journey around the sun. Millions around the globe will make resolutions, and some will actually keep them. I have a few that I’d like to share as that magical day looms near.
I resolve to call my mother every day. I’ve actually been doing that for a few years now. She’ll turn 80 in 2014 and remains young at heart. Every morning between 6 and 7 we chat for a few minutes. I keep up with her and she keeps up with me. We try to meet twice a week for breakfast. Sometimes she’ll ask me to take care of some manly things around the house for her since Dad is no longer here to do them. Mom does things for me as well. Every year we break about even.
I resolve to call my sister, Becky, every day as well. Right now her cancer seems to giving her a break, and that’s just the best news ever after a year of mostly pure hell. She’s an incredible human being in that she’s almost always happy, upbeat and thankful for what is good in her life and never dwells on what isn’t so good. Her husband, Lee, has been a rock. And a saint. And a nurse. And a confidant. And just the most tenderhearted and loving mate that she, and we, could ever hope for.
I resolve to continue to answer the phone whenever my brother, Mitch, calls me, which is almost every morning. We talk about things like the comics, “The Big Bang Theory,” “Person of Interest” and maybe the Tigers. I ask him about his business and he asks about mine. Occasionally we remember younger days. We tell jokes and we laugh. He teases me about my hair — or lack of — and we tease each other about growing older and about our loss of memory and hearing.
I resolve to talk to my sister. Terri. and my brother. Russ. as often as their busy schedules allow.
Terri has to be one of the most energetic souls alive. She’s the tireless office manager of the restoration company Russ owns. She is incredibly active at her church. She finds time to be with Becky and helps her get through the tough times as only a sister can. She manages to spend untold hours building crafts that are sold around town with all the profits going to Becky and Lee. She throws the best swimming and cookout parties EVER!
Russ spends about half his time out of town, marketing and keeping an eye on his branch offices in Little Rock and St. Louis. His plant in Memphis is so supremely efficient and well-run that folks from all over the country travel here to tour it. He is in high demand to give seminars on how he does things. He is a lot like Dad in that he welcomes and implements new technology, never being satisfied or letting himself think, “Why change? This works well enough as it is.”
I resolve to call my son, Ricky, and my son, Sean, as often as I can. It’s a little tricky trying to remember the time differences. I would hate to wake up a Marine air traffic controller in Japan (Ricky) or an Air Force Special Forces Airman (Sean) in Germany. Too many miles and too many oceans and too many years separate us from them, their wives, April and Kristin, and our grandchildren, Brent, Ally and Nathan. But this is the way it’s always been and will likely continue to be. I am so very, very proud of them and the job they do. And it’s so heartwarming to see how this country embraces our fighting servicemen and women. It hasn’t always been this way.
I resolve to tell my daughter, Lisa, that 2014 will be a wonderful year for her and her beautiful daughter, my granddaughter, Isabella. The best is yet to come.
I resolve to watch my son, Scotty, walk across that stage and receive his diploma from Christian Brothers High School this May. I resolve to tell him how proud his mother and I are of him and how we’ll continue to watch with pride as he moves on to bigger and better things.
And finally, I resolve to love my wife, Susie, with all my heart and with all my soul and to let her know that as long as I draw breath she will be safe, warm and cherished. This will be our 35th New Year’s Day together, the 33rd as husband and wife. If I could pick one moment to live over, it would be the first time she smiled at me.
I trust my theme is apparent. When it comes to time and how we spend it in our lives, family is everything. Period. My father is gone, my mother is nearly 80, my sister has cancer, and my two oldest boys and their families are overseas.
And 2014 is just days away.
I hope and pray that we will all be together, if only by phone, this time next year. In the meantime I resolve that not one day will be taken for granted. I love my family. They’re the absolute best.
Happy New Year, everyone.
May God keep you safe, happy and healthy and my cell phone charged.