Here we are. Another year is coming to a close. As I grow old, the days go faster and faster. Like all years past, this one had highs and very lows. It started with my husband complaining how sunlight made his eyes hurt. However, before we could get to that, he came down with an illness that laid him up for about a month.

No sooner did he come back to work that it turned out he could not drive in the daytime. So, we get his eyes tested and it turns out he has cataracts. So, before we can handle that, we have to go through a battery of tests that take time themselves. The tests reveal some things that worry the doctor, so it’s more tests. Now remember, all this time he is not working, so half of our business income is not there, yet the bills still are.

After clearing up what the tests revealed, now it is time to operate on the cataracts. We are now into May. The week before the surgery, the doctor calls and says they no longer carry our insurance, we must pay cash up front. To tell you I was fit to be tied would be an understatement. Where the hell were we going to come up with that kind of money on such short notice? We were already going into hock just to keep a roof over our heads.

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So, we make an appointment with our G.P., who has been our doctor for more than 20 years. He gave us the name of another eye doctor he highly recommended. So, we go see him, he takes our insurance. However, as more than a month has passed, we have to go through all the pre-tests again. We are now into June. All the tests come back negative, so we book the surgery. As Tommy needed both eyes operated on, that took up July.

By August, Tommy, who all his life needed glasses at $300 to see, now needed glasses at $7.50 to read my columns. The advances in eye surgery are amazing. They actually replaced his lenses. So, between Dr. Rocker, our G.P. and Dr. Calanda, the eye surgeon, both out of Cortlandt, we have a lot to be grateful for. While all this is going on, my Uncle Mike suffered a massive heart attack. It was touch and go for a while; however, he is back at work. Again, the advances in medical science amaze me.

Through all this, we could not have come out of this bowed but unbroken without the help of some great people. First and foremost are my brother and sister-in-law, Joe and Rene, who were there every step of the way for both Tommy and our Uncle Mike. Then, I found out an answer to a question I wish I never had to know. The question was, if I was in trouble at 5 a.m. on a Sunday, would someone answer my call for help? The answer was yes! There, at the other end of my phone, were my brother and my friends, Domenic Volpe, Dave Paganelli and Tom Pelegrino, to answer my calls for help, and help they did. I found out how lucky a man I am to have such good friends.

I cannot forget those at this publication who have to field the calls to remove this column and edit it to make me look smarter than I am. Through it all, they always have had my back. I have now been here five years, and it would not be possible without Brett, Brian and Bob and you, my loyal readers.

So, I will go into 2018 with a debt load that I did not anticipate. However, I have had a great accountant for 20 years, Bill Minovich, who continues to help me get through it. I also go into 2018 with a healthy husband of 30 years, great friends I probably do not deserve, and my own health, which, for an old man, is pretty damn good. So, to all of you, I wish you a happy, healthy, prosperous New Year. I learned one thing: If one has a loving family and friends, one can never be poor. All cynicism aside, it is truly a wonderful life.

This is what I say. What say you?