My wife turns 70 this Friday. (“Yikes! How did that happen?” says every aging person, as if time’s march toward an unwelcome destination is a perpetual surprise.) To prepare for the occasion, I’m making a little book of 70 memories of our 46 years together. I began digging down into the basement of my own memory, then got a little help from old-fashioned photo albums and then had the brilliant idea of consulting our annual Christmas newsletters, a tradition begun in 1987 of “the year in review.” There was always some creative angle to them beyond the dull prose of what happened—multiple choice test with funny wrong answers, rhymed versions to the rhythmic meters of “The Night Before Christmas” or “Good King Wenceslas,” match the photo with the event, etc.
Looking through them, I noticed I usually gave a closing paragraph reminding us all to be active and alert citizens working to improve this weary world while also taking time to enjoy its bounties and beauties. As good a summary as any of my lifelong “mission statement.” So even though it’s out of season, thought I’d share this rhymed version from some 10 or 15 years ago. On the surface, we seem farther away from these sentiments than ever and yet, each day, more people are also leaning towards tolerance, compassion, inclusion, especially if they have the good sense to turn off Fox News (their mission statement is to keep spreading fear with the goal of protecting rich and wanna-be-rich white people’s unearned privilege). So happy holidays in February and public greetings to my wife on the occasion of her decade-turning birthday!
So that is a smattering of our news from this year
And now we look forward to life free from fear
A new way of thinking, a new way of seeing,
A new way of living, a new way of being.
A world in which each life is precious and blessed
Where no one is living at the expense of the rest
Christians and Pagans and Muslims and Jews
Buddhists and Taoists and yogic Hindus
Each building hope for the next generation
By teaching the children that God loves no nation.
No religion, no people, more than another,
That now is the time to be sister and brother.
A world without naming the others as Satan,
Where each faces boldly the mistakes he is making.
A world free from ignorance, hatred and strife.
Happy Holidays to all and to all a good life!