Reflection In One Last Montana Mule

This was originally on my personal Facebook page.  I (Charlie) wrote it on New Year's Eve afternoon while enjoying my favorite winter beverage, a "Montana Mule" (it's a "Moscow Mule" only with bourbon instead of vodka).  Anyway, I wasn't sure if I should post it here, like this, but I decided that it's never been our style to NOT let you guys in on what's going on in our lives, so why start now?  It has been altered somewhat as it featured names of people who are "civilians" and don't need the scrutiny or added interest in them that an un-asked-for mention might cause here.

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As I'm writing this, I was just having a conversation with my wife, Debbie. We were debating whether or not to join friends (more on them later) and kiss 2017 goodbye while ringing in the hope of 2018. And before I go any further, for those that get the wrong idea from my "tongue-in-cheek" posts throughout the year, and on-air barbs...she is the light of my life, my soulmate, my everything.

Anyway, 2017 (on a personal note) was just AWFUL. Debbie's sole living parent is losing (rapidly) a battle with deep, dark, dementia. A year ago, we were on the phone telling her about all the fun we had in New York City. To hear my wife try to have a conversation with her mother on the phone now-with the lack of recognition-is, well...devastating-on a couple of levels. First, because she is my wife, I hurt so much for her hurt. As with many things I've discovered this year, there are no words to soothe the pain. Second, even though I'm not a "blood relative," Lalah Fern Beal has been a HUGE part of my life and heart since 1993. That's a long time. I will never forget walking up to her room, at her current assisted living home this summer, and seeing her slumped in the door of her room (in a wheelchair)-asleep. She looked so small, so helpless. My heart was breaking and tears were filling my eyes as I gently nudged her awake. She then looked up at me, smiled, and said, "Dewey (her husband that's been dead for 16 years), where have you been."

Heart broken. I knew she was gone.

She recognized Debbie then (although now, on the phone, I'm not sure). She thought Hogan (our son) was me. Even as I write about it now-months later-tears are falling. For others dealing with similar situations, you have my sympathy and empathy.

My wife is not like me. I wear my emotions on my sleeve-always have. She's a "close-to-the-vest" kind of gal. I guess that's why we work (truly polar opposite people in A LOT of ways). Anyway, I asked Santa for a miracle this year that didn't come.

It never will.

If you can, perhaps ask THE MAN UPSTAIRS to grant all involved peace and Grace in this situation in 2018.

Profesionally, 2017 was a roller coaster ride (as many years are in the the business of being a radio personality). However, it ended on a high note. I would be remiss if I didn't acknowledge DJ Stout, Rob Tanner, Catherine Lane, Jim Slade, Chris Allen, Rick McCracken, Chele Fassig, and my "little brother" Phil "Big Sexy" Tabakelis here. Together we have been through life, death, and life together on multiple occassions over the years. My brothers and sisters, you are the best. I posted a week or so ago that successful people HATE LOSING more than they LOVE WINNING. These people...hate isn't a strong enough word to desribe their disdain for ANYTHING other than being acknowledged as THE BEST.

For my friends in Texas. I have never loved you more. I have never respected you more. In the wake of the devastion of Hurricane Harvey, you taught a nation and the world a lesson in humanity. When it came to helping your fellow Texans, there was no politics, no race, no religion, no BS...just putting on your work boots and getting the job done of righting the ship. I stand in awe and hope to tell you all how much one day.

To the friends I spoke of at the beginning of this, y'all keep me sane. There are too many to name here, and you know who you are. Just know that you mean more to me and my family than you will ever know.

That's it. 2017...get out. 2018, there is nothing but optimism on my end.

Don't screw it up.

Happy New Year EVERYONE!