I hope this finds every one of you enjoying whatever holiday is appropriate to your circumstance, as well as the companionship of family and friends, and that your cup is more than half full!
Christmas in the Hoover home this year was a very good one. Lots of family time, great food, movies, and just general enjoyment of all that is Hoovdom. I can’t remember a holiday season when there wasn’t at least one stress related disagreement, but there wasn’t a single one this year.
And that got me thinking: in spite of everything that’s taken place this year, from my own personal career changes to the global economy—I am truly so very blessed in every way.
I had a promotion in January that most people would have been thrilled with, and a seemingly great opportunity ahead of me. Of course, as usual, there are two sides to every coin: the promotion came because I lost a two horse race for the higher job; I now report to the guy who won out; and the transition has been less than easy to figure out or navigate. Maybe the most stressful work year of my life. The bright side (and remember we ALWAYS look on the briiiiight side of LIFE…) is I still have a great job at a well run company.
My two kids occasionally forget to check in or miss a curfew. But they are both doing great in school—one has a 3.4 GPA at one of the fifteen toughest business schools in the country; the other has a 3.4 GPA at one of the ten toughest high schools in Indiana. They both have their health, a healthy respect for life and others, and a great sense of humor. They are really good kids who make you feel lucky to be a parent. And they both love racing!
We have a very nice home that had serious wind damage from Hurricane Ike related storms in September, and no one seems interested in fixing it—or giving us a bid for that matter. But it is well heated, we have nice cars to drive in the driveway, and we have plenty of food to eat.
And every single day I’m thankful for a basketful of family and friends that any one person would be thrilled to have a quarter of.
I lost one of my lifelong best friends this past June, when Jim Bazini succumbed to the kidney disease he had battled for ten years. Jim and I were best friends from the time we were four, and there hasn’t been a day that’s passed that I haven’t thought of him or his impact on my life. That said, I can’t tell you how blessed I feel to have had him in my life. Cheers Jimmy D, save half a glass for my arrival.
Another lifelong mentor passed away the week before Jim, when I lost Reg Lammers. Reg taught me more in twenty years than most people learn from ten others in a lifetime. His sons Larry and Dan are like brothers to me. I’ve probably thought about Reg more this Christmas than I have my own deceased parents in fifteen or twenty years. But his presence in my life was a blessing and source of wisdom that can’t be bought, and in most cases is never had at all. And through knowing him, I have two lifelong friends—and their families—that are like an extension of my own. Godspeed Pops.
I’ve got lots of others who are still here: and this summer presented the opportunity to get reconnected with four of them during a guy’s weekend at a rented lake house. We listened to music, played our guitars, drank beer and grilled. Oh yeah, and I remembered how cool it is to have such smart, fun, and humorous friends who have given you so much over the course of your life. People you knew, and who knew you, thirty or forty years ago, and shared so many of those seminal experiences in your life. People whose parents as often as not were called Mom or Dad by your entire group.
I heard from my long lost pal Fred Goodman for the first time in seven or eight years, and am looking forward to his trip back to visit this summer. What’up Mumby???!?!?!! :-)
And of course, I had countless texts from Andy during all of those painfully long Notre Dame football games this year, as well as other moments and our annual laugh until you cry/ultimate trivia/more pizza! weekend. If you have a friend like Andy in your portfolio, that’s like quarter a gallon gas: you’re the luckiest person in the world to have it, and you aren’t ever going to find it again.
I don’t know if gas will be $1.50 or $5.00 a year from now. I have no clue where home sales will be. And I surely don’t know what any of that will mean for our economy, our foreign policy, or the moving business. But I do know it will still be good.
Yes, the economy sucks. And fortunately, so far, I’ve made good decisions along the way leading up to this that haven’t hurt me.
Yes, we’re still in Iraq and Afghanistan. And we have the world’s bravest young men and women there, keeping us safe and bearing the banner of freedom.
And I woke up this morning, smiling, thankful, and going off to a day at work that I didn’t want to spend there, but felt lucky to be able to do.
It’s all good. God bless us, every one.
Happy New Year! And Happy Old Year too!