A Good One

It proved quite the decade, full of promise

By Mike Jopek

We got onto the lake early. The air was crisp. The sky was gray like most days this time of year. No one was around. The ice felt good, a little bumpy, but still good. I’ve been hearing there was also nice ice elsewhere.

It’s a couple weeks before Christmas and we were strapping on the ice skates. It’s the freeze before the snow hits. We stayed close to shore. The lake felt empty.

But there was no denying it. We were a part of the landscape. These were the moments that remind us why we choose to live in Montana. You’ve been there.

The weather felt cold, a bit wet, like it could snow. The clouds hung low. It can’t be long now. Winter begins this weekend. The ski hill opened for the 72nd year. It’s a good time of year. The outdoors feels about perfect.

I’m trying to get ready for Christmas. It feels harder this year. It might be because everyone has so much stuff. People seem distressed about how to get rid of it.

I went shopping with in-laws the Friday after Thanksgiving while in Sarasota, Florida. We got a big, I mean big, television. She saved a lot of money.

Back home we streamed One Planet, a Netflix limited series, on the big screen. It was amazing. The individual hairs curled on the backs of the polar bears.

The process of getting that television, of standing in line for hours with Americans shopping for the good deal felt a bit hellish. It was worth it. I’ll remember the experience. I enjoyed the company and the freedom to shop.

Christmas feels harder as great distances separate many Flathead families. Many families sprawl across our great nation and planet. The holidays draw at the strings that bond family together.

Christmas is a time that proves the generosity of people. We’re in this thing together, like it or not. Life is short. Might as well be kind about it and feed the kids.

Someone really should teach the boys of D.C. how to get along. I mean really, doing stuff like cutting food stamps for many American families during Christmastime. What on Earth are you boys thinking? Two million Americans still don’t have running water and D.C. is worried about $1.50 per meal.

Christmas is a time when the food pantries across the Flathead are very active. There are a lot of hungry kids and families in the Flathead in places like Whitefish and Coram.

A donated pocketful of bills to any of the food banks in our towns will go a long way to assure that these trusted organizations have the resources to help feed local people in the Flathead.

With your generous donations of cash, the food banks can procure more real vegetables and local meats to help blend the canned beans that are lucky enough to routinely arrive in the donation boxes.

For me, it’s time to put up the Christmas lights, to show Santa that I mean business. The season is here and there’s no use trying to deny it, to hide from it, or ever escape it. Christmas is a celebration of family, far and near. Might as well make it a good one. Deep down I love it.

There’s a lot to celebrate. Next week the days get longer, the sun returns. It peeked out today, from behind the dense cloud. Standing in its way is a winter’s worth of snow.

It’s time to get out there and enjoy the reason you live in the Flathead.

I wish you a joyful and kind next year. It proved quite the decade, full of promise. Much like the decades of the past and likely ahead.

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