I don’t usually make resolutions for the new year, but this year, my mantra is going to very simply … live.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve always believed in living life to the fullest, sometimes in unpredictable ways. In fact, my wife would have said that was one of my most endearing faults. Every time she thought she figured me out, I would throw her a curve or two.

But this year I intend on living every day as if it may be my last. I’m going to enjoy life more and do the things I want to do. Nothing crazy, mind you, but taking advantage of opportunities that present themselves.

Of course, that will probably involve traveling … and that’s okay by me.

I put it all in perspective over the New Year’s break when I delegated pick up and delivery of my newspapers {something I rarely do} and headed for the sunny Jersey shore. There was a mission — to watch the fireworks over the ocean on New Year’s Eve night — and visit with family in Toms River and Paterson.

The fireworks were spectacular, warming up a chilly, light breezy 33 degree night with about 2,000 fellow awe and ooh-ers. It was the culmination of First Night Ocean County, an annual event resurrected last year after the devastation of Sandy. This is the second year I attended, noticing a few more people bundled up for the display.

I stopped at JRs Ocean Grill for the traditional sausage and pepper sandwich with a side of onion rings and some old fashioned birch beer. Well portioned … not too much … not too little. Just the right amount of grilled peppers and onions and tomato sauce atop the split sausage. Mmmm. {Do I get credit for the peppers and onions?}.

I went back to the room for a “nap” and woke up just before the final countdown in Times Square. They went to commercial … I drifted off back to sleep and woke up to the partying around 12:30. So, I missed the Times Square ball drop … which is okay because joining in the crowd live already was off my bucket list. I went to New York City with friends back in 1966.

But I was determined to catch the new year sun rise the next morning. So I walked to the boardwalk and beach around 6:30. The sky was vibrant with dark blues fading to yellows and reds above white, puffy clouds as Mrs. Sun started her journey to daylight. A woman from Colorado and her son summed it best, “What’s a better way to start a new year than this.”

As the appointed time approached, I wandered onto the beach. The sand was rock hard until I approached the ocean’s edge where it softened. I reached into water, which felt refreshingly warm {it actually was 43 degrees} in the wind-whipped 13 degree air. After collecting shells, I headed to the lifeguard station to watch the final journey. Right on schedule — 7:17 a.m. — Mrs. Sun peeked above the horizon and transformed into a full, bright ball of fire in just five minutes, each minute illuminating the ocean with waves of light that shimmered in the ocean waves.

Before leaving, I stopped at the newly-rebuilt Seaside Park pier in Barnegat Bay. Last time I was here, they were rebuilding the pier. This time it was done so I ventured the roughly 350 feet into the bay to take in the sights and salt air.

The Jersey shore is always a morale booster for me. As I walk along the ocean’s edge, trudge through the sand, sit on the boardwalk and just watch the waves roll in or journey on the pier, I am in awe of how perfectly nature works and how insignificant I am in the great scheme of things. It’s a rush and at the same time a reality check. It’s relaxing. It’s rejuvenating. It’s calming. It’s the one place where I can truly be still and know God is God and in complete control.

My mini-vacation continued with visits to Millie in neighboring Toms River and Mom and Dad resting peacefully in the mausoleum and my aunt in Paterson. They were good visits, full of good, happy memories. Millie was my best friend’s mother and, by association, my second mother. In fact, remember that 1966 New Year’s celebration? We ended up at her house. About 3 in the morning she wearily came down the stairs to ask if we boys actually had a home.

Before heading home, I went to Falls View {Doc, please don’t read this} for a hamburger and hot dog all the way, Frenchies well done and more birch beer. I made a quick stop at the Great Falls in Paterson — when in Paterson you HAVE to stop at the falls — and was on my way to the interstate when I spotted Gelotti Homemade Ice Cream and Italian Ice was open. So I stopped for a small vanilla peanut butter swirl waffle cone for under $5 … my find of the trip.

Photo albums of First Night Ocean City, Seaside Heights Sun Rise and Final Thoughts are on my Facebook page at

For two days — the last of 2014 and the first of 2015 — I lived. I felt alive. And I like it.

So, here’s to 2015. Living one day at a time, seizing every opportunity that arises. I plan on visiting family and friends, going on junkets. I’ve already booked a room in Green Bay, WI, for a playoff game in two weeks and I intend to go to my great-granddaughter’s first birthday party at the end of the month in Ohio. I will see a baseball game in New York City this summer. I will go to a play on Broadway. I haven’t seen my son’s new digs in Kentucky and I know I’ll head out to Massachusetts and Maine some time(s) during the year. Who knows, I may finally get to visit Bernie in North Carolina or friends outside Las Vegas. And a close friend might need a traveling companion to Virginia to see her son and/or sister.

We’ll see how it all unfolds. But I do intend to live 2015.

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: If everything is coming your way, you must be in the wrong lane.

About wisdomfromafather

I'm just an ordinary guy walking along the journey of life.
This entry was posted in celebration, family, fireworks, grandchildren, holidays, love, Memories, New Year's Eve, relationships, travel and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Live

  1. TamrahJo says:

    When you go to see your son’s new digs in KY, be sure to stop by Blue Licks Battlefied Park and, if they are still in business, about a mile or so on your way there, is a long-lived country store that has warped wooden floors, a pot-belly stove and a case full of the best local sausages, meats and cheeses – – Dad and I always got a pound of the sharp cheddar – never lasted longer than our visit! 🙂 Oh – and because I’ve been away so long, can you drive from Lexington, KY to West Union, OH and say if the roadway during is full of prosperous looking farms/ranches with whitewashed or stone fences or if there are several For Sale signs? I traveled that route many times in the 80’s and 90’s and always hit and miss as to how folks there are faring… 🙂


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