This was my 75th New Year observance

This was my 75th New Year observance, although I certainly don’t remember observing them all. The first few escaped me because I was a baby and wasn’t aware of anything unless I could play with it or eat it.

I surely had no realization that I lived on a planet that rotated 365 times during its revolution around our sun. I hadn’t yet learned to celebrate the completion of that cycle. However, it didn’t take me long to figure out that anything that caused fireworks had to be important.

Through my late teens and early 20s I “missed” a few year-ends because I began celebrating too early, therefore was snoozing when the ball dropped. Strangely, in my older years, I’m missing more and more of them for the same reason - not celebrating but rather simply falling asleep.

Well this year, I can assure you I’ll be seeing 2017 arrive. At no time in my life have I looked more forward to the New Year than I do this one. I’ll definitely be awake at midnight.

We’ve all had close calls in our lives. There’s been a few times through my own stupidity or inattention that I’ve come close to removing myself from the gene pool. Most of the time I didn’t realize until later just how close I came to meeting Charles Darwin and got scared after the fact.

This year in my view, our entire country had a close call and I’m still experiencing aftershocks of euphoria to escape from what I truly considered would be certain death for our country. I can’t overstate my opinion that had Trump not prevailed, four more years of liberal rule would’ve pretty much been enough to kill us, eight years completed the burial.

But that weight’s been lifted, at least for now. All that remains is to thoroughly enjoy the benefits of our good fortunes. And to that end, I’m ready to get started.

My 2016 tax software is installed. My appointment book already has some January entries. I’m already anticipating “my” World Series of Poker tournament in June and our vacation in July.

My family, Sundae, Shingo and Bug, are leaving after their Christmas visit, which was beyond excellent. But the good news continues. Bug will be coming from Tokyo to spend a month with us in the summer. I know he’ll be happy to see the beach, which he enjoyed so much last summer.

I almost always get some toy for Christmas and this year was no exception. I got a drone with camera. I’m still test-flying it in the back yard and have already closely inspected two of the trees, make that “too closely” inspected.

As always, regardless of what good times come down the road, none of it matters much without good health, and in that department both my wife Ann and I have been more than blessed. As I’ve said many times before, I don’t deserve the good fortune that has come my way but am humbly appreciative.

I wish everybody a truly Happy New Year that extends through the next 365 days.

Otis Gardner’s column appears here weekly. He can be reached at