Happy New Year everyone!
There is no doubt that 2020 and 2021 have not been the best years for our community and nation but I’m optimistic that out of the darkness and sadness of the COVID-19 Pandemic there is going to be a lot more sunshine and joy in 2022. We have lived in the shadows of the valley for the past two years and now it is time to ascend to the mountaintop!
Although the past two years have produced a lot of negativity in our daily lives, we need to remember that we have, as Americans, so much to be thankful for, and to look forward to, in 2022! If you’re like me, you are sick and tired of the constant barrage of negative news that has been thrown in our face that reminds us of what we’re not instead of what we are — that promotes the worst of us, instead of the best of us. With a fresh slate of days coming to us in 2022 it is time to build and rebuild the best of what we are as Americans.
The new year offers new opportunities to focus on what made this nation great and we can be even greater by implementing what we learned by experience in 2020 and 2021. May God Bless America in 2022 and beyond.
• PRAYERS and best wishes for my sports editor and longtime friend, J. Thomas McNamara, who started dishing up his “Irish Stew”, and other sports stories, for me in November, 1976, and he has not missed a deadline or an edition in the 2,500 editions since then — until this week. Tom has been fighting some serious health problems since April, but has insisted on continuing to write his sports column and stories over the months and it has not been easy. What started last April as kidney stones evolved into something much more serious and Tom continues to be in a lot of pain.
Thursday, he told me, after explaining what he is facing: “I’m going to be unavailable for sports work. Please let my readers know I plan to be back. It is all in God’s hands.”
Tom certainly needs to concentrate on his health and family only at the present time and his position here at the Tribune will remain open until he regains his health and can start serving up his generous portions of sports “Irish Stew”. My prayers have been, and continue to be, with Tom, his wife, Nancy and their family during a really tough stretch for all of them. As Tom told me, “It is all in God’s hands.” When you are saying your prayers, say an extra one for Tom and his family.
• THANK YOU to State Representatives Brad Halbrook (R-Shelbyville); Dan Caulkins (R-Decatur); Blaine Wilhour (R-Beecher City); Adam Niemerg (R-Dieterich) and Chris Miller (R-Oakland) for issing a strong statement on the Satanic Temple’s outrageous display at our State Capitol. (Story is on page 7.) They wrote, in part: “We condemn this blasphemous display in the strongest terms. The idea that this hideous display is somehow an ode to pluralism is laughable. This display is nothing more than a blatant attack on one of the holiest celebrations of the year for Christians.”
Amen…and thank you. I don’t know about you, but for a nation that is praying to God to help during the pandemic and a host of other issues, the last thing we need is the glorification of Satan in our state capitol or anywhere else!
• THREE LITTLE MAIDS — This week’s “Scrapbook” on pages 4 and 5 of the print and online editions of the Decatur Tribune, was originally written several years ago and it is one of my favorites of all of the “Scrapbooks” I have written. The girls, Evelyn, Lucille and Eva Overstake started singing in Lincoln Square in 1920 and would sing their way to fame on WLS in Chicago and beyond.
I can look out my office windows and easily see Lincoln Square a block away where the Overstake sisters started their careers and, many decades before that, where Abraham Lincoln gave his first political speech. There is so much history in downtown Decatur and I feel right at home writing about it from an office where I can view where history was made a century ago — and beyond.
• HAVE A SAFE and blessed 2022 everybody. Thank you so much for supporting the Decatur Tribune (and its editor and staff) during 2021 — and all the previous years.