No bucket lists here in 2017

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The opportunity to reflect upon 2017 is, indeed, a privilege.

“Grateful” and “fortunate” are the words.

At the age of 72, thoughts of a bucket list are not out of the ordinary.

However, bucket list considerations certainly did not include open-heart surgery in late July.

Surely didn’t see it coming. But difficult times can be a true blessing.

Through the efforts of skilled surgeons, cardiologists, nurses and other medical professionals, all basically went well.

Rehabilitation got off to a rocky start because of a disoriented patient, but progressed steadily with the prayers, help and support of family members, cronies, cohorts at work and trained and attentive home health nurses and therapists. Never realized so much was involved.

And the biggest reason I’m back in even better form physically is the incredible care, tolerance and patience displayed by my wife, a retired registered nurse. Got extremely lucky there — even though I often treaded upon proverbial thin ice. Of course, I’m partial, but she’s the ultimate caretaker.

Thus, I’m back in my most enjoyable part-time capacity with The Wilson Times sports department, and I have my peers and management to thank. All were so kind and generous during the six-to-seven weeks I was MIA.

Football, with the exception of Southern Nash High, wasn’t all that great but being back on the sidelines on Friday nights proved more enjoyable than ever.

So quick and rewarding has been the arrival of the mid-point of the basketball season despite the limitations, restrictions and frustrations of an early deadline.

The challenge of a new year is at hand, and just around the corner is the annual banquet of the Wilson chapter of the Hot Stove League. That means area college and high school spring sports as well as fantasy baseball are not far away. And I am feeling great.

Recovering from surgery and returning to the workplace was boosted by cronies at Happy Valley Country Club.

During the early stages of rehab, they were considerate and attentive.

But once they deemed I had sufficiently recovered, they good naturedly unloaded.

Upon being allowed to hang out with the spades crowd, I was advised that, if prone to be thin-skinned, I had best spend personal time elsewhere or be a daily spectator.

The quest for physical normalcy was accompanied by open season on a person’s character.

Honestly, the daily episodes are not only zany but unpredictable. As several have observed, “you can’t make this stuff up.”

Summer coverage from this standpoint was abbreviated but, otherwise, not much else to say about 2017. Certainly have no desire to get into politics.

Some disappointment — certainly not overwhelming — was expressed that St. Sport once again did not pay a Christmas visit. The return of the Yule jokester is unlikely.

Jimmy Gurkin, professional/owner at Willow Springs Country Club, is always curious as to what mischief St. Sport will bring to the golf scene.

And if he had bestowed gifts upon the “needy,” he would definitely have sent a recommendation to Wilson County school officials to contest the Farris & Farris Holiday Tournament after — and not before — Christmas.

But he might not have been so willing to respond to Wilson Christian Academy’s request of providing an individual to edit head baseball coach Ty Bissett’s quotes to the media. Personally, look forward to them.

So, bring on 2018! Keep reading.

And to all, a blessed and fulfilling new year.