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I trust that you had as good a Christmas as can be expected under our current circumstance. These times are trying, to say the least.

I don't know about you, but I'll be glad when this year is over. Hopefully, in this coming new year, we can get back to some normalcy. That is, after we've conquered COVID and gotten the ringing out of our ears.

We, as a country, have a whole bunch of healing to do. And we're gonna have to do it on the run. There's no time to dilly-dally. My hope is that the time we've wasted snarling will be replaced with compassion and respect for one another. It may sound a little sappy, but that's the way I feel.

Maybe we'll actually go back to being true fellow Americans. We need to assign a crew, composed of a few from each side of the political aisle, to go up there and mop up that line that, in recent years, has severally divided us. While we're at it, let's get our standards and principles back up and running.

This year has been one like no other that I can remember. Just a few more days, and we'll be at the finish line. Step over it, and we're right back on next year's start line. Ain't it funny how life races on?

Chances are, someone in your family or a friend of yours has succumbed to this wretched coronavirus. Thank God Almighty that no one in my family has caught it. However, I've lost several friends to it, including good old Charley Pride. As hugely successful as was he, he was humble and modest.

Back in the 1970s, I booked Charley in Northern California. He flew in early enough that we had time to get in a round of golf before that evening's concert. We were both long hitters. I outdrove him, but he played his irons much better than I.

I'll never forget him pulling out a sand wedge and hitting his ball straight up and over a huge cypress tree and landing on the green, a foot from the pin. He just smiled. I love those kinds of guys. We're gonna miss you, Charley.

I've never really done well with New Year's resolutions. I don't remember how long ago I stopped making them. I'm not sure what they were. For years, they mostly had to do with me stopping drinking.

I usually made that resolution in the wee hours of the first day of January, after I'd drunk myself under the table. I mixed some religion with it. It went like this, "Please, God, I know that we've been down this road before, but if you can make all this go away, I'll be good from here on in."

Don't let anybody fool you. It's tough to stop drinking. When you're all alone and three-sheets-to-the-wind, you end up talking to God. No telling how many drunks the Lord has to listen to on any given night. Especially on New Year's Eve.

I can't say that the Almighty ever answered me right back. I don't guess, deep down inside, I thought he would. That was going a bit far for me to have expected him to stop what he was doing and cure my drunken dizziness.

Hopefully, you won't find yourself in that predicament, come this New Year's Day. If you do, I've found that while you're suffering and waiting for some divine intervention, a couple of Bloody Marys, heavy on the Worcestershire, and sunglasses can help.

When I finally quit drinking, all my puffiness went away. I began to think more clearly, and I dropped a few pounds. Now, I'm in my 70s. Weight is trying to pile on. I won't let it. Eating fruit and balanced meals is helpful. My wife, Jana, does what she can to make sure I'm getting the proper nutrients.

Ever notice that all the things that are good for you don't taste so good? What kind of man wants to eat yogurt, prunes and fruit bars when you have Coca-Colas in the fridge and Ritz crackers and peanut butter in the cupboard?

I know that I need to watch my diet. I'm not getting fat, but my cholesterol level is probably up. I say "probably," because I very seldom go to the doctor. I don't do well with waiting and smells of sterility. Plus, their selection of magazines is downright boring. To whoever's in charge of office subscriptions, two words, Sports Illustrated.

There's all kinds of stuff I need to lay off of, but I just can't help it. It's the way I grew up. If I could, I'd stop eating biscuits and pepper gravy. But I just can't. Besides, it's almost un-American.

I can say, for sure, if it weren't for pulled-pork barbecue sandwiches, pork chops, spare ribs, sausage and bacon, I definitely wouldn't eat pork.

Same goes for fried meats. Answer me this: How's a guy supposed to go through life without hamburgers? It's just not right. Same goes for french fries. I guess you could say that they're my "forbidden fruit."

It took a while for the devil to transform into a snake and then talk Adam into eating that apple. My bet is that if fried chicken had been the temptation, Adam would have folded right away. I assume that God must have invented chickens a little later on.

It sure would be great if we could go to bed, on Dec. 31 and awaken to a brand new year, filled with love and respect for one another. A new year of understanding and bipartisan participation in getting to the bottom of and curing the things that have become terribly obstructive to us all.

This upcoming new year could turn out to be a good one, if we can find a way to bury the hatchet. Life's short. None of us have, comparatively speaking, that long to go before we ascend to our Maker.

We must find a way to get back to being who we were meant to be before we got to here. We must be in it together.

I'm sure hoping that, when I expire, I head North rather than South. If not, I'm sure that I'll see several familiar faces down there. There's a good chance that I'd bump into my cousin, Ronny. He was a scoundrel.

He and that lying "so-and-so" who did me wrong last year will probably be stuck waiting tables for eternity. More than likely, they'll be serving yogurt, prunes and fruit bars.

Have a happy New Year, y'all. And a belated happy birthday to Mrs. Margaret Varnell.

Email Bill Stamps at bill_stamps@aol.com. His books "Miz Lena" and "Southern Folks" are available on Amazon.

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Bill Stamps
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