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Country Roads: New Year Resolutions

Arvid Huisman huismaniowa@msn.com
Arvid Huisman huismaniowa@msn.com

New Year’s resolutions are tough. I’ve tried to make them over the years but have never succeeded.

In the year just ended, however, I made some resolutions and I plan to carry them on into this New Year. You see, 2013 was the most difficult year of my life. My wife of 43 years died in January and in the months that followed I began to see life much differently. Some things that mattered a year ago don’t mean much anymore. Some things that mattered little a year ago mean much more today.

As a result of these shifts in priorities, I have resolved to make some changes in my life. My first resolution is to be less judgmental of others. I never thought myself to be judgmental but in 2013 I encountered people who extended love, grace and kindness to me in ways I had not experienced before. In some cases this surprised me. I admit that in the past it has been easy for me to make snap judgments about people and their actions or motives.

I can relate to something Dwight L. Moody wrote years ago. Regarding judging others, he wrote, “Right now I’m having so much trouble with D. L. Moody, that I don’t have time to criticize my friends.” I have resolved to be less judgmental.

I have also resolved to temper my temper. I was born with a hot temper but as a teenager learned to bring and keep it under control. Most of the time. The most temper-challenging time for me is on the highway and the other drivers who seem to have learned to drive in rural Moldavia. In the safe confines of my car I can get really upset. This leads to another resolution: clean up my language. Cussing wasn’t allowed where I grew up but the Huisman boys knew all the words. I can go all day without using that kind of language but when some idiot… I mean another driver… cuts me off in traffic it seems some of those words spontaneously come back to my tongue. The phrase that most readily pops out when I get angry on the road is the vernacular for the south end of a north-bound steed. My apologies to horses.

Another resolution: to eat more healthily. Back in the late ’50s Champion’s Bakery in Jewell sold glazed donuts for a 5-cents each. When I discovered this I learned that a nickel will buy happiness… for at least as long as it takes to eat a glazed donut. Across the street Beattie’s Dairy sold ice cream cones for 5-cents and 10-cents. Again, temporary happiness was mine for a nickel or a dime.

This should give you an idea of my dietary preferences. In the months since Cindy passed away I have tried to eat well, but my suppers are not often well represented on the food pyramid. I learned to cook helping my mother in the kitchen years ago, but I seldom put those skills to use. For instance, a quick and easy meal is three hot dogs cut up into a can of baked beans. Heat in the microwave, open a diet soda and “voila” it’s supper time!

I figure I get protein from the weenies and fiber from the beans, but I will concede it is not a well-balanced meal. I imagine the chicken lips in the hotdogs have little nutritional value.

For lunch I have forsaken greasy fast food burgers for deli sandwiches with veggies. I eat a banana every morning and an apple every evening. I have read that a handful of nuts each day is good for the heart. I just have to remember that I have very large hands. I have even reduced my consumption of ice cream. I just don’t have the guts to go cold turkey on ice cream.

Man cannot live by good food alone so I keep a bag of plain M&Ms handy for a quick milk (dairy?!) chocolate pick-me-up.

So, by this time in 2015 I resolve to be more gracious, practice less freeway fury and be eating better. I am not at all encouraged by the thoughts of F.M. Knowles who said, “He who breaks a resolution is a weakling; He who makes one is a fool.”

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