This is my last column for 2018, so I should take advantage of the space and wish a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of my faithful followers of this monthly collection of words.

I hear from some of you at times and I really appreciate the input and kind words.

Christmas is similar to Thanksgiving because they both have that common thread of gratitude, giving and counting one’s blessings.

As many of you know, I perform with several vocal groups. I’ll say that the months of November and December of this year have been among the busiest in quite sometime.

My barbershop quartet HMMM has sung more gigs than usual and we’re thankful. We’ve been asked to sing in churches, at banquets, birthday parties and on the Texas Country Gentlemen Barbershop show. We still have a few to go.

My wife and I sing in the Salado Community Chorus. Our concert is Dec. 13. Please accept my personal invitation to join us at First Baptist Church in Salado at 7 p.m. About three Sundays a month, my wife and I also sing in the Praise Band at our church, The Vine in Temple.

This weekend, we got a new invitation to travel to Lufkin and join Dianne’s twin sister in assisting the choir at First United Methodist Church in Diboll, in performing their Christmas Cantata. I’ve never had to memorize so many words and notes. It’s been taxing on this 66-year old memory.

Let’s not forget my appearances as Santa Claus. I helped the crowd sing the 12 days of Christmas at the TCG show. I had 10 minutes to dress from one outfit to the Santa suit at that show.

Next on the calendar is a photo shoot with my grandson. This little fella now weighs in at 9 pounds. It’ll be our first photo shoot together and I’m hoping he decides to stay awake through it all.

I’ve got the easy part. His parents have selected three different outfits for little Nathan. This stands to be entertaining.

I also have an appearance while I’m in Lufkin this weekend and there will be others, I’m sure. I won’t go as far as wearing the outfit to the next city council meeting but I did dress up last year and surprise some of my business friends.

I’m thankful I have again been invited to put on the suit and ride a fire truck on one of three routes through the streets of Harker Heights on Christmas Eve. I’ve not been told what route I’ve been assigned to or what truck. I’d say look for me, but I don’t know where I’ll be and the Santa suit plus a makeup job provided by my daughter will completely cover my identity.

I’m really looking forward to it again this year. The best way to describe last year’s ride was just pure blessing. It was so much fun and the reception of the crowds was heartwarming. It gave me a chance to hand out some joy and I appreciate the Harker Heights Fire Department for allowing me this opportunity.

As Santa would say, “Ho, Ho, Ho!” Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

By the way, I’ll try not to say Merry Christmas to any mailboxes along the route this year.

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