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Good Evening friend!
All Points West: A warm feeling on a big winter day
January 08, 2016 Frank Marquez   

Read more by Frank Marquez
So, itís 2016. Note to self when writing checks or composing important legal documents: Get it right.

Forget Nostradamus, I already know itís going to be a big year. Blame it on love. (More on this later).

Resolutions? I have none, though some ideas have been buzzing around my brain, including losing weight, and expressing more kindnesses to friends and family (people in general). The latter can probably be fixed by answering my cell phone. Yet, for some reason I canít help but think of it as a paroleeís ankle bracelet. Being chained to a desk at work doesnít help. Prison metaphors aside, Iím not sure if these goals are even attainable or feasible given hard-to-break habits. Folks in my age group of 50-somethings might agree. Hereís hoping the spare tire doesnít become plural as in tires, and my cell phone network doesnít develop some sort of conscience app that costs $6.99. My gut says Apple is only months away from telling me how to live my life. Sad, because thatís my momís job. So much for job security.

Donít get me wrong. Despite what I say about work associated burdens, self-imposed obstacles and an overactive imagination, I consider my job at the Gering Citizen a labor of love. Itís what happens to adults. They become responsible, mature if you will. They might even be crazy enough to quit a good job in D.C. and move back to a small town in West (or is it Western?) Nebraska because theyíre on a mission from God. I couldnít help it. The love of my life Lisa Betz needed me. So, here I am, back in Gering where my heart stayed for all these years. Since arriving, our staff has endured several changes, and we now produce what I call the weekly miracle. Nothing new. I worked at several newspapers and call them all the same thing Ė miracles. There was never any time to unravel the mysteries of the printed word or the elaborate newspaper delivery systems. In the end, readers never wonder how it all happened anyway.

Maybe we all have to be a little crazy to get along in this world. Thereís a fine line between crazy and having faith. Some might say insanity had something to do with my decision to get married, and of all days, in the middle of winter. All the expressions apply. Iím no spring chicken. Iíve been to the rodeo. Iím entering the twilight (zone) of my life, and God knows Iím older and wiser with regard to making better decisions, relatively speaking, to some degree. Enter the weight issue, again, and being dogged by procrastination. Avoiding the bathroom scale provided no solution. I pray my Spanx will do the job.

The countdown to the altar starts this week, and I feel like Maj. Tom sitting in his tin capsule, feeling the rumbling of rocket engines.
Proud soldier that I am, fitting into my Army dress uniform becomes an urgent priority for the Jan. 9 evening affair. Iíll recite vows to Lisa at a candlelight ceremony Ė to have and to hold, in sickness and health (assuming this includes mental health and health benefits). Why she accepted my proposal confounds me, given all my imperfections including the ďflabulousĒ strains against the waistband of my military slacks, not to mention gray, thinning hair. For once, Iím happy love is blind. This should have been my answer to well-wishers who repeatedly asked me if Iím ready for the big day. Iím happy to report, there never has been a cloud of doubt.

More than 35 years ago, I was just this kid growing up on 12th Street in Gering. A pot belly and getting married were things least on my mind, if at all. My mission in life then resembled Maslowís hierarchy of basic needs Ė shelter, food and clothing, not necessarily in that order. Plus, my definition of basic needs was quite simple and varied somewhat from Maslowís as a teenager, considering sports, girls and books took up a lot of my spare time. Next was this insatiable need to leave rural Nebraska and see the world. I donít know which was the stronger driving force, leaving home or seeing the world. Little did I know then as I traipsed across international borders, living in capital cities, a flat stomach was temporary.

Confounding. Whatís more confounding? Resolutions.

People wait until the first day of the new year to arrive to make mind-boggling changes. They act as though struck by some epiphany, some great realization, knowing that vows they make on January 1 could be made on any of the other 364 days of the year. Maybe Iím preaching to the choir. We are all a work in progress. Forget time travel. Sorry Dr. Who fans.

Big changes can take us by surprise at any time, on any given day.

On other days, when you slip a ring onto the finger of that special someone because of a burning desire, youíre in control, feeling crazy and relying on faith. Youíll come to realize that compared with special days like these, resolutions and flabby stomachs come and go. Yet, love and the moments that celebrate love Ö Well, those days will live forever.
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