A new year


Kay Reminger, Leader Columnist

Turning the calendar is a visual reminder that we’ve begun anew. A new month, or in this case, a brand new year.

It is crazy how fast time flies. My husband and I celebrated the New Year quietly, attending church, going out to eat at Perkin’s, spending a bit of time at the casino (I brought my $20 home, he did not) and finally ending the night with grasshoppers I made at home, clinking glasses and wishing each other a Happy New Year with Molly contentedly napping at our feet, us sawing logs as the ball dropped.

Driving that night, we reminisced how we’d spent New Year’s Eves in the past. Thirty-five years ago (what?) we’d be out all night, dancing to our hearts’ content at either

King James in Shawano or Mr. Roberts in Appleton, hating to see the lights come on, signaling the party-goers to head on home. Later, stopping for breakfast we’d pull in during the wee hours of the brand new year. What a difference the years make!

While disco dancing is not on the list of things to do this year, we both know that we must remain active. Flipping the calendar over to a new year and realizing we are not getting any younger doesn’t mean we have to grab the remote and vegetate. My worst nightmare.

Clint Eastwood was once asked, at 87 years old, what is the secret to his still-active lifestyle? Scowling, he answered in his trademark Eastwood fashion: “I never let the old man in.”

As I fill in important dates to remember in our New Year calendar, I reflect on all that happened during the old. For us, 2016 was quite memorable. Of course, selling the cows comes to mind first and the emotional upheaval that was a part of it all. As with any major life change, there was a transitional period that tagged along. I am so glad we sold the cows in May. Our outside work was therapeutic for both of us.

Our Amtrak trip out west was another milestone event, an awesome reminder of God’s amazing creativity, both in nature and in the diversity of His people. Spending time with our eldest son sat well within my momma heart.

Losing my husband’s mother was the saddest event in our lives in 2016. Shortly after the angels came to take her Home, my husband would come into the house, exclaiming, “Oh, how I’d love to tell Ma what happened today!” Many, many times that scene would replay itself. Even the little things; she loved to hear about it all. The first part of November, he was still mowing lawn and as he was passing our raspberry patch, he popped a couple of fat, juicy red berries into his mouth and immediately thought of his mom, wanting to tell her, “You’ll never believe this, Ma! I ate raspberries off our patch in November! And I’m still mowing lawn!”

Because she so loved Christmas lights (her little-girl self never left), my husband put up a small tree by her grave, illuminated by twinkling solar lights. We’d see it from our house and it touched my heart; that my mother-in- law was lovingly tended to by her son, even now when she was no longer with us.

As far as world events, this past year was historic as we witnessed the first time ever, a woman representing a major national party run for president of the United States against a businessman, not a career politician. Whatever your particular preference, we now must unite, supporting President-elect Donald Trump, asking God to guide him as he leads our great nation.

The Cubbies winning the World Series was crazy, first time since 1908. At the Gresham post office, a long-suffering Cubs fan came in, wishing me a Happy New Year, telling me to pass this thought along to my husband: “Don’t give up on the Brewers. If the Cubs can do it, so can they! But for now, let’s concentrate on our Packers!” Yes.

I wholeheartedly agree. Aaron Rodgers is like those long-ago E.F. Hutton commercials. When E.F. Hutton speaks, people listen. When Aaron Rodgers speaks, “Run the table!” his team listens.

As I ponder the unknown of the coming year, I remind myself not to fret, for God knows, and He has been faithful to see me through thus far. I will remain in that knowledge until He sees me safely Home.

Writer Helen Mallicoat said it well: “I was regretting the past and fearing the future. Suddenly my Lord was speaking: ‘My Name is I Am. When you live in the past, with its mistakes and regrets, it is hard, I am not there. My Name is not I Was. When you live in the future, with its problems and fears, it is hard. I am not there. My Name is not I Will Be. When you live in this moment, it is not hard. I Am here. My Name is I Am.’”

(“God said to Moses, ‘I Am Who I Am.’ He said further, ‘Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘I Am has sent me to you.’” Exodus 3:14)

Happy, blessed New Year, everyone!