Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come

Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come


Randal B. Thatcher





A New Year has dawned, and with it, a fresh new beginning, filled with optimism and hopeful expectation.  Or, as Tennyson put it: “Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering, ‘It will be happier.’ ”

And a New Year (to borrow a sentiment from L.M. Montgomery) with no mistakes in it… Yet.  (Though, by the time you read this, my own pristine, mistake-free New Year will surely have taken on a few minor blemishes.)

And while we look optimistically forward, and with a resolve to keep our New Year as blemish-free as possible, it’s also a time for reflection and retrospection.

Some are resolution makers, like Benjamin Franklin: writing down New Year’s goals and resolving to improve in specific areas.

My wife, for example, resolves every year to be “more loving and giving.”

And, while I applaud such a laudatory resolve, I wonder how she’s able to determine whether she was, in fact, more loving and giving last year than she was the year before.  “I just feel like I was,” is her ready answer (which no husband who’s been married more than a year is ever going to challenge).

I, on the other hand, write down very specific, quantifiable resolutions, which enables me, at year’s end, to take a definitive stock, and to determine, quantitatively, and without equivocation, that I managed to achieve exactly none of those lofty goals that I set for myself last year.

Alas… A New Year, and new goals, and a chance for a fresh start, and hopefully new and better resolve to go with it.

And also an opportunity, as we begin a New Year to take grateful stock of all of those unique experiences and opportunities that avail themselves to us lucky denizens of the Sanpete Valley, and so many ‘firsts’ achieved during the past year…

First time to ride a horse, snowmobile, 4-wheel ATV, and to fly in an ultralight aircraft.  First time to witness a “mutton-busting” competition, and to see young ladies compete in a barrel-race on horseback.  First time to hike through Maple Canyon and to the top of Horseshoe Mountain.  First time to taste the meat of deer, elk and raccoon.  (And I am hoping to enjoy two of those three again this year!)

But, in addition to all these experiential ‘firsts’ that have come my way as a relative newcomer to Sanpete, has been the opportunity to meet so many singularly unique and amazing people who call this bucolic valley their home.  Like the bona fide cowboy, for example, who lives just down the street; and who not only looks like he’s straight off a Hollywood movie set, but has actually been an extra and even a stunt-man in any number of westerns filmed in Southern Utah.

And then there are the many farmers, ranchers, craftspeople, teachers, artists, and those semi-retirees who do such marvelous things with their extra time, like restore old automobiles, motorbikes, and tractors; compose and perform their own music; write, sculpt, paint, build, and carve; and one who is teaching herself to play electric guitar.

As I look ahead to this New Year, it is with enthusiastic expectation, not only because I recognize another chance for redemption in actually achieving a few (one?) of my New Year’s goals; and not only because I can anticipate a wife who will find a way to somehow become even “more loving and giving”; but also because I know I am not finished with fun, experiential ‘firsts,’ nor with meeting more of my fascinating fellow ‘Sanpeters.’

Like Will Rogers, who felt that “A stranger is just a friend I haven’t met yet,” I feel that I still have so many friends in this valley to whom I simply haven’t been introduced.  And, in this New Year of hope and optimism, I am looking eagerly forward to meeting you!


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