And now, happy normal year

By: Tom Rupp
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Once again, Merry Christmas! Did you get what you wanted? Did you give what you wanted? Are your decorations still up?

Looking back on past diaries, I came across 2010. That must have been a down year for us. We didn’t decorate or get a tree. We did a few things, but it must have been a low key Christmas; or, as Dolly Parton sang, a “hard candy Christmas.”

Not that you are required to do such things in order to usher in happiness. But, each of us develop traditions and memories, and some of these things assist in conducting happy thoughts our way.

My boss gave me a tin of old-fashioned hard candy. I’ve been eating one piece a day, for old times’ sake. It’ll last well into 2019, Lord willing. We also again ordered a tin of Otterbein’s sugar cookies from Baltimore. We eat one every morning with coffee.

In four days, the New Year arrives. Already, as of last Friday, the days are beginning to get longer. The cycles continue.

These weeks I’ve been fluffing my beard out, combing it up instead or down. It reminded me of Animal Behavior class in college, when they addressed “territoriality.” This displays itself, for instance, when a cat turns sideways and stands it fur up in order to appear as large as possible to perceived dangers.

I was doing it in order to appear more like Santa. Now that’s over and it’s back to normal. “Normal” is defined as “typical, usual, expected” (thanks, dictionary). Approaching this year, we think we will encounter what is typical, usual, expected.

And well we may. In fact, all things being equal, we assuredly will…for the most part. Then there is the unusual and unexpected. The future holds some of this as well, does it not? Well, like it or not, ready or not, the future is here, in all of its messy mix of “this again?” with “where did that come from?”  

So, New Year’s Eve. What are you doing? As I wrote these words, I seriously do not know what plans, if any, that we have. Will it be normal? New Year’s Eve 1973 was anything but “normal” for me. That was the night God changed my life, forever.

It’s been a blessed journey ever since, and that is what I hope you enjoy as you too walk into your God-future.

Tom Rupp is a resident of Folsom and a weekly columnist in the Folsom Telegraph. You can reach him at