Volume 48, Issue 12- December 2013
12 Ė 13
Without question, the hardest article for me to write for USGlass in any given year is the one that will appear in the December issue. I have struggled with this in years gone by and have no doubt whatsoever that I will continue to struggle with it in the future, but perhaps I should explain just a bit anyway.
To begin with, because of deadlines and scheduling and such, the December article is actually written in mid-to late-November. In fact, today is November 26, 2013. Two days before Thanksgiving. Some of my neighbors will start putting up Christmas decorations this weekend but for the most part, except at the local shopping malls, not much has happened along these lines and a couple of houses down the street from me still havenít taken down their Halloween displays. Add to this the reality that the magazine will mail in mid-December but not arrive at some subscribersí mailboxes until close to the end of the month, factored in with the thought that a lot of people travel over the holidays and therefore wonít even look at the December issue until after the New Year, and maybe you start to see my problem. So do I write about the year that is ending, the New Year that is about to begin, or something else altogether?
In years gone by I have produced my ďChristmas Gift ListĒ which has tended to poke fun at some of the characters we deal with on a regular basis. In other years I have produced poems written to mimic certain Christmas carols or songs. For the most part, these too, have poked fun at certain groups. This year Ö a couple of weeks ago actually Ö I put together a little poem to be read to the tune of Jingle Bells wherein I tried to tell the plight of a hard working but underappreciated installer who has to work late to finish his last stop on Christmas Eve while everyone else has long ago headed home for the holiday. He feels a bit used and abused but when he gets back to the shop he finds a box of cookies, a thank you note from the boss and a little something in an envelope that he and his family can use to help defray the costs of holiday celebrations and gift giving. But when I was done with it, I just didnít think it would work so at the last minute, meaning this morning, I decided against it.
Iíve been writing for USGlass for a little over 20 years now; sometimes the articles come easy and sometimes they donít. For the most part, I am given a great deal of freedom and particularly so these past few years. It is much appreciated. I really like the USGlass team. They are a bunch of hardworking, dedicated professionals who love this industry. They are also very kind, considerate and supportive. I feel honored to be even a small part of their team.
This past year has not been an easy one for me with the second worst day of my life occurring this past August 13 when I was told that a growth on my neck that had been assumed to be a swollen gland was actually a cancerous tumor. The worst day of my life was nine days later when, after additional tests including scans and bone marrow biopsies, I was told that I had a very aggressive form of cancer and would not live six months if I didnít immediately start fighting it. Two days after that, on August 24, I was admitted to Loyola University Hospital in Maywood, Ill., and had my first round of chemotherapy. If there is anything worse to put a human being through than high dose chemotherapy, I canít imagine it. I am amazed at what the human body, especially one that is not so young anymore, can endure. If youíre really interested, and I certainly understand if you are not, I provide weekly updates on this each Wednesday in my blog at http:// lyleblog.usglassmag.com.
As you can imagine, my perspective has changed a bit over these past several weeks. I was told by people who have gone through similar situations that it would, and it has. All of your scheduling and planning completely unravels and your treatment program takes over virtually every part of your life. And not just the physical aspects, but the mental and emotional ones as well. So here I sit Ö two days before Thanksgiving and one month before Christmas Ö with my December column now due. And here is what I have decided to say.
Thank You Ė to each one of you who has e-mailed, called, or sent a card encouraging me and letting me know that you care. Many of these have come from people I have never met. Some have offered to donate blood on my behalf, others have volunteered to drive me to my treatments, and others have even offered money. A large number have told me that they are praying for me which is truly appreciated. I have saved every card, e-mail, and letter and have done my very best to answer each one. I could never put into words how much all of this has meant to me.
Happy Holidays Ė to one and all and may you have the best holiday season you have ever had. And when you are with family and close friends, let them know how much you care about them. Donít hold back for fear of embarrassment, give them a hug and tell them you love them, even if in some cases you have to exaggerate a bit. Life is so short and certain opportunities may not come along again.
Have A Happy and Prosperous New Year Ė I am aware that many are still under employed, underpaid, or maybe not even employed at all. Hang in there. The New Year has some promise to it and the trend, while not moving as fast as anyone would like, is still heading upward. And no matter what, never give up.
Thatís it friends. Thatís all I got for 12-13. Maybe next year youíll get the poem!