everyone. I hope you and yours has a very Merry
Christmas and a wonderful New Year. This past year has
been amazing for me, starting in January
with our annual McCarty brothers Las Vegas trip, followed shortly afterwards by Margaret and I going on a
Caribbean Cruise. We had a great time in Mexico, and we also met some new friends from Indiana.
A cold February was
thawed a bit with our annual Valentines Day dinner with friends at White
Castle (I wore a tux). Also, the warmth of friends and
memories of DJ, at the 9th Annual DMGC Texas Holdem event.
My brother Steve always does a great job on that. Then
during a weeknight, on a short visit to Michigan, Jerry joined Bob, and I put an impromtu concert on at
Andiamo, which later in the summer would become something
In March, I had a great time limo'ing around Detroit's
Irish spots on St. Patrick's Day with Steve and friends.
Margaret and I also became a proud grandparents for the 4th time when Valerie and Brad welcomed to the world Gray Eileen McCarty. Such a
blessing, and I just know that Olivia is going to be a
fantastic big sister. May and June were busy months as well.
Steve and I competed in Gull Lake XXX2 golf tournament with
lots of old friends (and I mean old!) My lovely wife Margaret and I also took a Mother's Day trip to the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island,
where we wined and dined, and danced the nights away. Just a
few weeks later, we both flew out and spent a week in Oregon with Chris, Amanda, Alexa, and Cooper.
Those kids are growing up so fast, and we really enjoyed our
time with all of them.
In July, we
had our annual McCarty Metro Film Contest. The films submitted were the best yet, and consensus by the professional
movie people had Jerry's submission Brad Savage & The Cockroaches as the winning film. Ironically, several weeks later,
on August 12, Brad Savage & The Cockroaches had their 35th Reunion concert.
Margaret, Austin, Brad, and Chris were there to support
me, along with my brothers, their wives, nephews and
nieces, and Bonnie, Valerie and Laura. Special thanks to
Bob, Carl, Adam, Lance, and Todd, my current and former
band mates who played with us. And a huge thank you to my
brothers Jerry, Steve, Larry, and Mike for performing with
me and making it a night that I will never forget!
saw all McCartys traveling again as I had the honor of joining Larry and Gina in Holy Matrimony. The wedding and reception and all the gatherings before and after were awesome. I hope for many years of happiness from them.
As you can see, I am nothing without my family. It has been a great year,
both for me personally, and for the McCarty Metro. I just
wanted to thank you all for your support and love you've
shown this past year. Which
brings us to Christmas. Christmas is a time for joy, for giving and sharing, for laughter, for reuniting with family and friends, for tinsel and brightly decorated packages. But mostly, Christmas is for love.
My final thought
of 2016 is a story about a small elf-like student with
wide innocent eyes and rosy cheeks who gave a wondrous gift one Christmas.
Mark was an 11 year old orphan who lived with his aunt, a bitter middle aged woman greatly annoyed with the burden of caring for her dead sister's son. She never failed to remind young Mark, if it hadn't been for her generosity, he would be a vagrant, homeless waif. Still, with all the scolding and chilliness at home, he was a sweet and gentle child.
I had not noticed Mark particularly until he began staying after class each day (at the risk of arousing his aunt's anger, I later found) to help me straighten up the room. We did this quietly and comfortably, not speaking much, but enjoying the solitude of that hour of the day. When we did talk, Mark spoke mostly of his mother. Though he was quite small when she died, he remembered a kind, gentle, loving woman, who always spent much time with him.
As Christmas drew near however, Mark failed to stay after school each day. I looked forward to his coming, and when the days passed and he continued to scamper hurriedly from the room after class, I stopped him one afternoon and asked why he no longer helped me in the room. I told him how I had missed him, and his large gray eyes lit up eagerly as he replied, "Did you really miss me?"
I explained how he had been my best helper. "I was making you a surprise," he whispered confidentially. "It's for Christmas." With that, he became embarrassed and dashed from the room. He didn't stay after school any more after that.
Finally came the last school day before Christmas. Mark crept slowly into the room late that afternoon with his hands concealing something behind his back. "I have your present," he said timidly when I looked up. "I hope you like it." He held out his hands, and there lying in his small palms was a tiny wooden box.
"Its beautiful, Mark. Is there something in it?" I asked opening the top to look inside. "
"Oh you can't see what's in it," He replied, "and you can't touch it, or taste it or feel it, but mother always said it makes you feel good all the time, warm on cold nights, and safe when you're all alone."
I gazed into the empty box. "What is it Mark," I asked gently, "that will make me feel so good?" "It's love," he whispered softly, "and mother always said it's best when you give it away." And he turned and quietly left the room.
So now I keep a small box crudely made of scraps of wood on the piano in my living room and only smile as inquiring friends raise quizzical eyebrows when I explain to them that there is love in it.
Here's to our family, friends, and most of
all, love. Happy 2017 Everyone... Cheers!