2017 New Year Resolutions


Now that we’re coming to the end of the year, many of us are evaluating our progress and setting new goals, planning our new year resolutions, and thinking about our dreams.

I’d like to tell you about my cousin Lenny, his big dreams and how he always seems to live down to his expectations. Cousin Lenny is the black sheep in my family.

This story starts with a Sunday dinner at Aunt Sally’s house. All the family shows up and we have a great meal. You know the sort of thing, fried chicken, okra, sweet potatoes, hush puppies, sweet iced tea and Aunt Bee’s coconut cake.

On toward evening Lenny says his good byes and starts the two hour dive to his home, but when Lenny got on the freeway, the traffic was so bad, he decided to take the back country roads. Lenny is driving by the tobacco fields and the cotton fields, he passes the occasional farm house with the comforting lights on inside the house. When all of the sudden, Lenny hears a thump, thump, thump.

So Lenny pulls over to the side of the road and gets out to see what the problem is, and sure enough, Lenny has a flat tire. When Lenny opened the trunk to get out the spare, he remembered he’d lent his jack to his brother a month ago and Lenny hasn’t gotten it back.

I’ll just phone my brother to bring my jack back, but when Lenny looked at his phone, the battery was dead and he didn’t have any cell service out in the boonies.

Not to worry, Lenny thought. I’ll just walk back to that farm house, I saw about a mile back and ask to borrow a jack.

As Lenny began to walk, he started to fret. What if the folks at that farm house aren’t up? NO, the lights were on, so they must be up. It was getting colder so Lenny turned his collar up and kept walking.

What if they don’t have a car jack? Farms have pick up trucks and tractors. Nah, everyone has a jack. The farmer probably has the very first jack he ever used. Heck, farmers save everything, he probably even has his granddaddy’s jack, even his great-granddaddy’s jack. It won’t be a problem to borrow a jack.

It’s probably a little red jack with one of those crank handles. The farmer probably treasures that jack from his great-granddaddy. What if the farmer won’t lend me his jack? What if the farmer looks at me and sees a city slicker and won’t trust me with his jack? He probably thinks I’ll break the thing. Yes, he probably won’t lend a jack to me.

Lenny had worked himself into quite a state by the time he reached the farmhouse –and the lights were out.

Well, they couldn’t have gone to bed too long ago, the lights were on when I drove past. So Lenny knocked. Tap, tap, tap.

Lenny waited . Nothing happened.

I probably didn’t knock loud enough. Lenny knocked again, this time louder. Knock.  Knock.  And while he waited Lenny started to thinking, what if the farmer is mad that I woke him up? What if the farmer keeps a shotgun by his bed and he comes to the door and shoots me? No one knows I’m out here in the country. I saw the movie Deliverance. I know how these rural farmers are. I’ll bet the farmer is a Klansman. I bet he keeps his Klan robe in the closet by the door so it’s ready anytime he wants to go out. I’ll bet this farmer doesn’t like people from the city.

Still nothing had happened so Lenny knocked one more time, really loudly KNOCK, KNOCK, KNOCK. And from within, Lenny heard in a gravelly voice, “Hold your horses, I’m pulling on my pants.” And then Lenny heard the heavy steps of someone walking down the stairs and the door knob turning. Lenny was getting really agitated now, he braced expecting to see the barrel of a Klansman’s shotgun staring down on him.

Gunless, the farmer stood in the door way. “May I help you son?”

A most agitated Cousin Lenny turned away from the door. “You can keep your damn jack, you bigoted Klansman,” and with that Lenny walked away.


Lenny was so close to achieving his goal. Instead he shot himself in the foot.  I ask you, How often do we do we give up on our goals when all we need is just a little more effort, or a little help from our friends?

There is a saying in poetry. A poem is never completed, it is only abandoned. What Lenny did was abandon his goal.

I’m here to encourage you to hold onto your dreams, to put in that extra effort and if you find you need help, I’ll be standing on the other side of the door when you knock. All of us are here to assist you. Let us help you, encourage you, support you in your goals. Don’t give up on yourself and we won’t either.

Here’s to New Years resolutions that allow us all to grow.


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