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Another year about to fade

December 28, 2018

“Good resolutions are simply checks that men draw on a bank where they have no account.” — Oscar Wilde,

I have never been a New Year’s Eve kind of person. I can’t imagine standing in Times Square in the cold among the cheering thousands waiting for the ball to drop. I usually avoid New Year’s Eve parties and prefer to hide until the day breaks on a new day and year with many revelers awakening to severe hangovers. One can argue that it is a new year and with that fresh beginning comes eventual growth and renewal. Perhaps it’s the season itself with the winter snow and a frozen landscape that enforces the sense of brooding and morose thoughts.

I don’t ski. My attempts at the sport have been pitiful, including cross-country skiing across the tiny slopes of a snowy golf course. Forget downhill skiing. I lack agency and balance.

2018 has been a contentious year politically speaking. It doesn’t help one’s mood at the end of the year to see the Federal government shutdown. Don’t we elect politicians to keep the government running?

It was a tragic year in many ways with mass shootings, devastating fires, smoke-filled skies and a reckless president, under siege from both parties and possibly putting the country under siege, as well. A recent PBS NewsHour coverage with such different journalists as Mark Shields, a liberal, and Michael Gerson, a conservative, featured a startling bipartisan commentary. Both journalists discussed the inevitability of President Donald Trump’s impeachment after the Robert Mueller investigation concludes, suggesting the Trump administration may be facing the beginning of the end.

Perhaps. Perhaps not.

John Adams was also an unpopular president with both parties but finished his term. Presidents Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton survived impeachment.

There is the cheerful thought that spring is not far behind. I do appreciate Easter and the prospect of warmer days and budding flowers. I always read William Faulkner’s difficult but impressionistic novel, “The Sound and the Fury,” as a yearly ritual. The novel takes place over Easter and describes a decadent Southern family, but the theme of human beings “prevailing,” as Faulkner would say, and the lyrical prose elevates the story to a sublime level.

Recently, Steve Eaton and Mike Sanders, two of Idaho’s musical treasures, performed a December concert that drew a large enthusiastic crowd. There was a strong feeling of nostalgia and love filling the spacious Mountain View Event Center. It was more than watching one’s favorite — even beloved — performers, but rather a celebration of life through music. Eaton and Sanders were joined by a sensitive guitarist, Jon Klein. They ended their rousing rock and roll medley with a touching rendition of “Ave Maria” sung by Steve Eaton and a religious Christmas hymn sung by Mike Sanders. It was a poignant moment for the audience and performers.

I recall feeling a similar sensation after seeing a superb production of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” with Sydney Walker as Scrooge. That audience carried a warm glow outside to face the San Francisco cold. One critic lamented, “if only that feeling of love could last.”

Maybe it can be revived with another gathering of artists to celebrate and communicate to an anxious audience. We need more concerts. We need to see and hear Steve Eaton and Mike Sanders again.

Michael Corrigan of Pocatello is a San Francisco native and a retired Idaho State University English and speech communication instructor. He studied screenwriting at the American Film Institute and has authored seven books, many about the Irish American experience.

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