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The Holiday Season

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As a very diverse organization, the holiday season is celebrated in a variety of ways depending on our religious affiliation or non-affiliation, local customs, family traditions and other contributing factors that make the time from October through January special to us all. Usually, this is a happy time of year when we recall the celebrations we've had over the years. It's a time to reflect on friendships and our loved ones contributions to our lives. I hope that this season is filled with good memories and anticipation of a wonderful year in 2019.

The past three months have been a particularly busy and emotional time for me. I began this time period with chapter visits to Hamilton and Toronto in Canada. What a wonderful set of chapters! To name all the things that made those visits wonderful would take this entire article. So, I will save the details to a future issue of Prime Times. It continued in England where I spent nine days in the English countryside where I had spent time with friends there. Remind me to tell you about the origins of "that's a cock and bull story"! On September 29th, I boarded a cruise ship with almost 40 other Prime Timers for a trans-Atlantic crossing. What a great group of guys representing 18 different chapters! We always seem to have fun together as we did in Scotland, Iceland, coastal Canada and New York City. It was there my voyage took a challenging turn.

Many of you reading this article don't really know if I'm single, married or otherwise connected. I've not spent a lot of time discussing my partner of eleven years, Tim Butler, in this set of articles as President. As our ship cruised out of New York harbor for Miami, I was on the phone with him for what would be our last conversation. As was his nature, Tim had concealed he was hospitalized with a minor heart issue and didn't want to spoil my trip. He wasn't a traveler but encouraged my adventures. Four hours later, he suffered a massive stroke and never regained consciousness. He passed away with friends and family at his bedside. I was there in disbelief that at age 55, Tim, would be gone and my life would be altered so unexpectedly.

October 17th began a series of events that prove the value of friends, neighbors and Prime Timers. Two wonderful, supportive services described Tim's contributions to the homeless and under-employed through his food pantry work, his individual acts of support to friends in tax preparation, immigration issues and acquiring government services. Things you just take for granted as part of living can make major impacts on others without you even knowing it. That is where the lesson of a "passing" is learned. However, it should not be at a funeral.

As this holiday season is upon us, it is a time to reflect on the things that make life meaningful. This is the time to say "I love you", "I'm sorry", "Thank you" or all the other things that make those we love so important to us. It is a time to reflect on the support and happiness provided by organizations like Prime Timers that contribute to your day-to-day happiness. It is a time to regroup, reflect on the good times and accept the support being offered by those that love you. I've begun that process by doing what Tim would have wanted me to do. Christmas was a big thing in our house so I made a Christmas tree in his honor with packages labeled with words that describe the wonderful person he was. I hope all of you will also take this holiday season to honor those who make your life worth living. I'm grateful for that last conversation from New York harbor. Have any conversation you need to have with those you love. You too, will be grateful someday. Happy holidays!

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