It has been a good year overall. There have been a few bumps in the road on my ride in 2017. I lost some firemen I had worked with in the past and some friends in the tackle world. Getting old is one of the hazards friends and people my age and older can’t evade because some day, ready or not, it can be over.

My big 2018 New Year’s resolution is like last year’s: live every day like it’s your last. If you wake up and don’t see your name in the obits, get up, out and go like there is no tomorrow, because there might not be. Life is like a roller coaster — enjoy the ride.

Other notables 2017 brought was the fun of following my Gunter Tigers in the baseball and football playoffs, making new friends and trying to remember all the names of the ones I have. That last is a problem as I think I am running out of storage space.

I never get tired of taking the time to talk to the people who come up to me and say how much they like what I write. If in stores that sell fishing tackle, I try to always find time to help people who aren’t sure about what they need to fish with. I never went to a writing school or wanted to be a writer, it’s just something I picked up when Max Eggleston passed away.

Somebody needed to do it and the Sherman Democrat, before the Herald Democrat, was good enough to let me take it over.

I would guess that most of the people at the paper today wouldn’t even know who he was. If you can find the book he wrote called Top Water Fishing, it’s a good read and sounds something like what I write.

I will never stop using my old time words that get the idea across, even if spell check has no idea about what they mean. Sometimes the paper edits a lot of the old funny stuff out of my columns because it might be a little too close to being outside the proper lines.

2017 saw Susan and I getting a new ride. It has so many buttons to push, talks to you, calls people and for technology-challenged me, I’d be about be as happy with a mule. Get up, whoa, back up, gee, haw. Those five things and a club (they can be stubborn) is all you need to drive one.

2017 saw my tackle and other sponsors kind enough to keep me on the A-list and 2018 looks like I’ll still be there. I got started way back when a handshake was about all the paper work you would need to get on their team. I had friends then who opened the door for me to the sponsorship part of the world of Bass fishing.

That was before it came to be as hard as it is now days to get a foot in the door.

2017 saw me sitting on the back deck with friends and as it got colder around the fire pit, listening to music that was real music and sharing a bottle or two of good wine; the St. Patty’s Day party I host every year, complete with Irish Stew made with a real Irish recipe, green hats, green beer; donning my kilt and fire department shirt and going to the KTA in Lewisville for a night of friends, drumming and bag piping by people from all over the USA.

I wore the kilt to Loose Wheels for one of our monthly Gunter friends get-together this year and it didn’t seem to raise any eyebrows until two of my Gunter lady friends attacked me.

Four guys eating at the next table stopped in mid-chew and what I told them you don‘t want to know. I like being laughed at and I hope I always bring grins to people faces. Shyness isn’t in my vocabulary.

I guess the best thing that has happened to me in 2017 is seeing the smile and grins I bring to faces of people I know or don’t know. The love my Ginger, our Goldie, shows me even when I don’t meet her schedule, she has Susan and me well trained.

Happy New Year to everyone. I hope for 2018 when my new ride starts you hold on tight as I take you along with me on one that brings as much fun for you as 2017 did for me. Thank you readers. J.B., Susan and Ginger