This is going to be one of those “old-fashioned” types of letters that we used to give or receive with a cool Christmas card and family picture.
Well, many of us are going to thank God that 2016 is over! And why?
The Presidential Election (didn’t matter who won; voted for neither; the vitriolic behavior; loss of friendships; YES, THAT ELECTION SUCKED – HARD!!!!!).
Cops being murdered.
We have seen some really wonderful / influential people pass away: David Bowie; Mic Gillette (TOWER OF POWER Trumpet player); Glen Frey; Abe Vigoda; Prince; Joe Garagiola (as a child, loved listening to him announce baseball games); Merle Haggard; Doris Roberts (EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND); Muhammad Ali; Gary Marshall (HAPPY DAYS; LAVERNE & SHIRLEY; PRETTY WOMAN); Gene Wilder; W.P. Kinsella (the only Author of a fictional work (SHOELESS JOE) I have read in the last 25 years! Love non-fiction!!!); Arnold Palmer; Florence Henderson; John Glenn; Craig Sager – only to name a few!! You could add many more names to the list. You get my point. MANY PEOPLE who have influenced “us-fifty-year-olds” passed away this year. Breathtaking to see the number and read the names.
I add one more name: ANNE MARIE FLYNN. If you have read my posts, you know Anne is my aunt. Anne went to heaven on June 23, 2016. I encourage you to read my tribute to my aunt. God so blessed us with an amazing aunt. Anne gave me, my sisters, and our mom (Anne’s sister) so much. We can only thank her and pay tribute to her by living our lives in Anne’s light. Anne loved people. So giving. She is still giving to me, my sisters, and our mom. We love you Anne. Such a challenge not to have phoned you yesterday when the University of Idaho football team won its third-ever college bowl game. Such a challenge not to phone you today to talk about the upcoming Navy / Louisiana Tech Bowl Game. And needless-to-say, come Sunday – CHRISTmas morning – it will be a deep challenge for the first time in FIFTY YEARS not to wish you a MERRY CHRISTMAS!! We are grateful for all you have given to us. WE LOVE YOU!
So, there was a lot of BAD – A LOT OF BAD – in 2016, but when I look at the entire year? OH MY GOODNESS…
1). My jazz band earning straight ONES (the highest score you can earn at these jazz festivals) at the Folsom Jazz Festival and Campana Jazz Festival (Amador Valley High School). First time in school’s history a Dublin High School Jazz Band earned straight ONES at these two jazz festivals in the same school year.
2). For the first time in fifteen years, the Dublin High School marching band and color guard went to Bray, Ireland! What a fantastic experience!! Performed at two schools! Great hosts to us. Toured castle. Great tour guides: EUNAN / MURIEL. Super host: WHITEY (www.worldprojects.com). Won: OUTSTANDING BAND in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Loved that trip.
3). First time in many years DUBLIN HIGH SCHOOL produced a musical. IN THE HEIGHTS. Wow! Loved working with SCOTT / ALLIE. Also, had a wonderful time working with my first ever DHS pit orchestra. Proud of my students were able to “hang” with the professional musicians. GREAT EXPERIENCE!
4). How about that IRISH GUARD? Five competitions in FALL SEMESTER 2016:
- NEVER FINISHED IN LAST PLACE. First time since I have been the DHS band director we could say at field show competitions, “Hey, we didn’t finish last in one competition!”
- EARNED THREE FIRST PLACES IN OUR DIVISION
- EARNED A SECOND PLACE (missed first by less than a point)
- (at a WBA competition) EARNED A FOURTH PLACE OUT OF FIVE (possibly the second time-we did not finish last in a WBA competition)
- AND….. On November 12, 2016 at Vintage Band Review: A SWEEPSTAKES (first place overall at a field show competition; MARCHING SWEEPSTAKES). First time in MANY MANY YEARS THAT A DUBLIN HS Irish Guard WON A SWEEPSTAKES TROPHY AT AN N.C.B.A. COMPETITION. In fact, at the awards ceremony, Diana had to point to me on the re-cap sheets, we won sweepstakes!
- All of this accomplished with less than half the rehearsal time (in the six previous years) due to scheduling facilities! Not complaining – just a fact!
5). Added Manteca / De La Salle / Granite Bay High Schools to Laguna Creek; Rancho Cotate; Del Mar; Kennedy High Schools in giving me the blessing to lead LEADERSHIP SEMINARS to their bands/guards!! THANKFUL!!
a). Katy Everts kicking ASS during her first semester at University of Idaho!! Woo-Hoo!! She is passing all her classes. She is getting “A’s!” She is growing!! LOVE KATY!
b). PJ survives being the Executive Officer for his battalion!! Still kicking ASS on his grades as well. Being a super big brother to Katy. Love ya PJ!!
c). And then…PJ GETTING ENGAGED TO BEAUTIFUL ASHLEE!!!! They have the potential of being a GREAT couple and INCREDIBLE PARENTS! Yes, I am biased, but as a husband / father / and teacher – I do have some experience in judging. THEY CAN BE A VERY HAPPILY MARRIED COUPLE WITH SOME CUTE / WELL-BEHAVED / SMART CHILDREN. (okay…time to move one… 🙂
d). DIANA AND I CELEBRATED OUR 25TH WEDDING ANNIVERSARY!! Loved our Alaskan Cruise!! Became friends with John and Gail Sayers!! LOVE THEM!! Talk to John almost every week! He is a Chaplain for PRISON MINISTRY! Who would have thought Diana and I would be married for 25 years? WE DID. GOD DID!!
As is ALWAYS the case, we create the world we live in! I create mine with God by my side, but there is NO DOUBT: the negative takes over the positive. I had so many cool wonderful / POSITIVE moments, but they got lost in the CRAP that happened. Trust me… there is more CRAP to share, but not good for the “Christmas / End-of-the-year Letter.” STAY WITH THE POSITIVE FOLKS!
In 2017, I encourage all of us to do all we can to enjoy the positives. THERE WILL BE SOOOOOO MANY POSITIVES! We will recognize the positives because of the flipping negatives. We know there are mountains because mountains have valleys! THE VIEW FROM THE MOUNTAINS IS AWESOME!!
Enjoy your family time. Enjoy parties and fun with your friends. If you are celebrating Christmas or Hanukkah, do all you can to remind yourselves why we choose to believe and “practice” either faith. Those who choose to live life with neither faith: PLEASE LOVE YOUR LIFE, FILL YOUR LIFE (and add to others’ lives) with THE SAME JOY AND PEACE WE (Christian / Jew) ENJOY THROUGH OUR FAITH. I LOVE YOU!!