75 Things About 2022

A couple of months ago, I linked to this post by Berry Simpson in which he describes his annual effort to identify a hundred things which he describes as the good things, the grace-filled things, the influential things, and the things that make us human. (Here’s his list for 2022.) At that time, I foolishly committed to going through a similar exercise, although I’m still not sure what wouldn’t fall into the category of “the things that make us human,” me being human for the most part myself. But the point of the exercise is to hone one’s sense of gratitude by recognizing/remembering those good things.

I say “foolishly” because I realized about 2/3rds of the way through the effort that it’s not something that you I should wait until the end of the year to do. My memory simply isn’t good enough to recapture some of the delights that fall into the admittedly illogical category of “trivial yet important.”

So, while I’m not above making a list out of whole cloth, I stuck to those events and observations from 2022 that actually stand out in my mind.

And it turns out that upon further contemplation, even some things that at the moment don’t seem like Good Things actually are. My hope for you is that you are able to say the same.

Here we go, in absolutely no particular order, my three-quarters-of-a-hundred-things list:

  1. Being delighted by the filled chocolate mini-cupcakes from Walmart added to Chobani reduced sugar lemon yogurt along with blueberries and raspberries: a dessert revelation.
  2. Bouncing back from a summer that brought a parent’s death, a cancer diagnosis, a serious UTI, pneumonia, and COVID in rapid succession, and understanding God’s grace through it all.
  3. Relishing the view from our breakfast table of steam rising from the creek behind our house on a cold morning.
    Photo: Steam rising from Pecan Creek in Horseshoe Bay, Texas
  4. Watching the amusing interaction between a lovelorn whitetail buck and his object of affection, a doe which pretends to ignore him, while making sure he doesn’t give up.
  5. Running on the Summit Rock golf course cart path with Debbie on Mondays when the course is closed.
  6. Reading a poem written by a favorite aunt — and my mother’s sole remaining sibling out of 11 — at her funeral at the request of her daughter.
  7. Looking at a 3-inch stack of cards from friends following my cancer diagnosis and subsequent surgery and realizing how blessed I am to have such a family backing me up.
  8. Celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Fire Ant Gazette.
  9. Paddleboarding with Debbie on the Museum Reach of the San Antonio Riverwalk.
    Photo: Paddleboarding on the Museum Reach of the Riverwalk in San Antonio, Texas
  10. Introducing our friends from Midland to Horseshoe Bay, and learning that they will build a house two blocks away from ours.
  11. Taking an extended weekend trip to San Antonio to celebrate our 49th wedding anniversary, which included a morning run in which we got lost and ended up running much further than we had planned. It was quite an adventure.
  12. Dining on chopped brisket from the new barbecue store at the Marble Falls HEB
  13. Cooking on a new gas grill to replace the 20-year-old model that came with the house we purchased in 2016. It’s a much better grill than I am a cook, but I can finally put a real sear on a steak.
  14. Enjoying recumbent tandem bike rides with Debbie along miles of streets in Horseshoe Bay.
  15. Facing the terrible responsibility of making the decision not to prolong my mother’s life as dementia and related illness takes an unacceptable toll, and then seeing the amazing grace of Hospice personnel in helping us through her final days on earth. And sitting bedside, along with Debbie, and holding her hand as she entered Heaven.
    B&W image: Holding hands with my mother in the hospital
  16. Using my new chainsaw to maintain the trees along the walking trail that circles our neighborhood.
  17. Getting caught in the rain during a run with Debbie…and not caring because it was an adventure.
    Photo: My wife and I after a run in the rain
  18. Paddleboarding across Lake LBJ to an outdoor concert on a hot June evening.
    Photo: Our paddleboards at a lakeside concert in Horseshoe Bay, Texas
  19. Splitting firewood with a ten-pound sledgehammer and feeling grateful for the health and strength to do that simple task.
  20. Enjoying a blazing fireplace using that hand-split wood
    GIF: Blazing fire in our fireplace
  21. Attending a Pink Martini concert in San Antonio with two other couples.
    Photo: Pink Martini in concert at the Tobin Center in San Antonio, Texas
  22. Seeing the legendary accordionist Flaco Jiménez in concert.
  23. Making a road trip to Denton, Mineola, and Midlothian to visit with several of Debbie’s cousins (and one of mine), and feeling a warm sense of family that we’d missed because of the pandemic.
  24. Making another road trip to North Texas for a rare reunion with my dad’s side of the family, and again renewing old relationships.
  25. Learning to hang drywall while working with a group of men from our Sunday class to help construct our church’s new Missions Center in Marble Falls.
  26. Working with some of that same group to help build a fence at the Missions Center
  27. Reading the Bible cover-to-cover for the 31st time in the past 32 years.
  28. Paddleboarding a mile and back on the South Padre Island portion of Laguna Madre with my pal Sam.
  29. Successfully finishing the remaining portion of our new back yard deck that the carpenters had overlooked. It was my first time – and possibly my last time – to work with Trex.
  30. Experimenting with DreamStudio and DALL-E 2, AI-powered text-to-image generators.
  31. Converting my blog from a decades-old platform to WordPress, a state-of-the-art platform.
  32. Trapping my 99th armadillo and safely relocating it to an undisclosed location.
  33. Finally getting to see Dale Watson in concert when he appeared at the Horseshoe Bay Resort’s annual “Beer By The Bay” music festival.
    Photo: Dale Watson playing at Beer By The Bay at the Horseshoe Bay Resort
  34. Encountering a porcupine waddling down the path during our run to the lighthouse on Lake LBJ.
    Photo: Porcupine near the Lake LBJ lighthouse
  35. Listening to Erik Hokkanen and the Hip Replacements at the Redbud Cafe in Blanco, Texas, and being absolutely amazed at the talent of that trio.
  36. The discovery of the Time Traveler feature on the Merriam-Webster website, which documents the first known appearance of a given word.
  37. Watching three young armadillos forage in the vacant lot next to our house. One of them got close enough to touch my shoe before realizing I was there.
  38. Getting a new iPad and a Magic Keyboard to go along with it, and realizing that I could now quickly send texts that are massive in length.
  39. Getting personalized tours of Garcia Art Glass’s “hot shop” and Caylor Forge’s bladesmithing shop in San Antonio.
    Photo: Glassblowers in action in the Garza Art Studio hot shop
  40. Dining on breakfasts at Tia’s Taco Hut, near the Museum Reach of the Riverwalk in San Antonio
  41. Following almost two years of pandemic-induced isolation, discovering that I still remembered how to tie a bowtie.
  42. Listening to the Doc Watkins Orchestra play “Sing, Sing, Sing” at the Jazz Texas underground jazz club.
    Photo: Doc Watkins and His Orchestra at Jazz Texas, San Antonio
  43. Watching our nephew’s German shepherd and corgi react to my low-flying drone in the back yard.
    Photo: Corgi barking at a drone flying overhead
  44. Attending an outdoor worship service overlooking Lake Marble Falls on Easter Sunday
  45. Pressure washing our back patio for the first time and discovering that it’s not really brown.
  46. Dancing barefoot with Debbie at sunset on the soft grass of a local driving range to the live music of the Honeybee Jazz quintet from Austin.
    Photo: Honeybee Jazz Band playing in Horseshoe Bay, Texas
  47. Driving 60 miles one-way to eat a perfectly cooked one-pound ribeye steak for $25 at the Bend General Store while listening to live music.
  48. Delivering and assembling a bed, mattress, sheets, and comforter for a little girl who was sleeping on a couch, and getting to see her shyness turn to excitement as she tried it out. This is what a ministry called Sleep In Heavenly Peace does, and it’s very cool.
  49. Visiting our friends’ ranch outside of Brady and helping them feed horses, goats, and cattle.
    Photo: Goats in a pasture outside of Brady, Texas
  50. Attending a dueling pianos show at the Horseshoe Bay Resort, and having a surprisingly fun time.
    Photo: Dueling pianos show at the Horseshoe Bay Resort
  51. Receiving an email from a Jewish “virtual” friend – who I’ve never met – telling me that he had said Psalm 30, an appeal for healing, on my behalf.
  52. Heading out for a run in a cold, damp, and cloudy November morning…and experiencing the blessing of seeing the skies clear and the sun shine begin to shine brightly in less than half an hour’s time.
  53. Running almost 700 miles during the year…the second highest total in the 38 years that I’ve been keeping records
  54. Finally realizing that taking more than one rest day per week from running is a wise thing to do
  55. Also realizing that no longer caring about how fast I run is a feature, not a bug
  56. Discovering a movie called Moms’ Night Out. As unexpectedly moving as it was hilarious.
  57. Seeing a white pelican floating in the middle of Lake LBJ. Pelicans don’t live here.
  58. HEB’s Mi Tienda-branded beef fajitas
  59. Enjoying T-Mobile’s 5G Personal Internet service that has allowed us to reliably stream movies for the first time.
  60. Discovering that a small inexpensive ceramic heater coupled with some sheets and a frost cloth can successfully (and safely!) protect warm-weather potted plants from single digit temperatures on our back porch.
  61. Writing the weekly emailed newsletter for our 85-member Sunday School class
  62. Enjoying periodic happy hour get-togethers with various friends in Horseshoe Bay, old and new
  63. Being amazed by this sunrise viewed from the path out to the lighthouse on Lake LBJ:
    Photo: Brilliant sunrise over Lake LBJ
  64. Helping neighbors successfully contain a grass fire that threatened their property
  65. Photographing a beautiful painted bunting that flew into one of our windows, but was stunned just long enough for me to get a snapshot.
    Photo: Painted bunting
  66. Encountering a gaping, plump cottonmouth stretched out on the golf course cart path during an early morning run, and pausing to photograph it before continuing our workout
  67. Videoing two juvenile red-tailed hawk siblings that had hatched in a nest a couple of blocks from our house as they hopped around looking for prey
    Photo: Two juvenile red-tailed hawks on the ground
  68. Coming across this fawn curled up under a mesquite tree next to the neighborhood tennis/pickleball court:
    Photo: Whitetail fawn curled up under a mesquite tree
  69. Sporting my new cowboy hat, a Christmas gift from Debbie
    Photo: Me and my new cowboy hat
  70. Attending monthly Trivia Nights at the Resort on a team comprised of our neighbors; we never win, but we have more fun than the other teams. Our team name is Limited Bandwidth, which gives you an idea of our capabilities.
  71. Wearing pearl-snap shirts made by an Austin company called Poncho
  72. Having a friend who lives 400 miles away ship you two limes from their tree so that there’s fresh juice for margaritas
  73. Listening to Bluegrass Junction on SiriusXM: back to basics, musically-speaking
  74. Snacking on Debbie’s guacamole made with fresh jalapeños, onions, and bacon bits
  75. Reveling in 75º and sunshine on New Year’s Eve


  1. You and Debbie enjoyed quite a year in spite of the few sad things encountered. It is those sad things that make the good things so good, and the best is yet to come! Happy and prosperous 2023.

  2. You and Debbie have so much fun experiencing life in nature and running!! I enjoyed reading about it!! I pray 2023 will be better health wise for both of us! Take care. Linda L.

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