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By Staff | Jan 2, 2015

With the winter solstice occurring a few days ago, the days are now getting longer. At least, that is supposed to be happening, but is too early to see any difference.

What we do know is that they have quit getting shorter. That is good.

To go with longer days, here comes a new year, a fresh start, if you will.

I do not make New Year’s resolutions because I know I won’t keep them more than a few days and more likely, only a few hours. This saves me the frustration and disappointment with myself.

However, looking ahead to a new year is a great opportunity for making plans, especially building on last year’s successes.

My wife and I have started discussion on a summer trip to the Pacific Northwest. Our trip will be probably in August because I am in charge of the 50th reunion of my high school class which is planned for June.

I was in charge of our 45th class reunion. I was a committee of one and told my classmates that evening I was appointing myself to be in charge of our 50th.

It was met with applause which I took as a sign of relief that someone had taken responsibility for the event.

I told them that the 50th would be a lot like the 45th so if they had any suggestions on improving anything to let me know. I haven’t heard a word in more than four years.

The 45th reunion went very well so I am moving ahead in confidence while remembering we need a better sound system as our hearing is another five years older.

Working as a committee of one reflects my preference for work. I prefer to work alone.

I enjoy people and I usually enjoy being around people. It takes the right combination of people to work together to reach a consensus in decision making.

Committees, councils, or boards, I find, are painfully slow. Discussions get off subject. Someone gets stuck on a certain point and stubbornly won’t let go.

The meeting drags on and I end up frequently checking my watch, wondering when will this end.

Then I drive home wondering why did I ever agreed to serve and when will my term end.

Working alone means if it goes well, I get the credit; and if it goes badly, I get the blame. Getting the blame is a great incentive to make sure it goes well and keeps me on my toes.

Working alone was the big reason I decided to return to the farm almost 40 years ago.

I worked with my uncle and after his death in 1998, I assumed responsibility for everything, day-to-day, week-to-week, year-to-year, mortgage payment-to-mortgage payment.

I have no regrets.

My work is not flawless. Ask anyone who works around me.

However, I am open to suggestions or criticism and willing to improve.

I may prefer to work alone, but realize I am part of something bigger. That something involves other people who are counting on me to do my part.

A favorite memory from 2014 I heard was spoken by my step-daughter when my wife and I arrived at a family gathering.

She said, “There’s Clayton. Everything goes better when Clayton shows up.”

I hope so.

Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at crye@wctatel.net.

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