Publisher's Letter

photo by Brian Jones
photo by Brian Jones

I truly believe that every day is the perfect day to start living better. This is the reason I’m not one to make New Year’s resolutions. I’m sort of an “if it is worth doing, it is worth starting today” kind of gal. I even ramped up my running back in November just to make sure I had a jump on the fitness resolution crowd that inevitably doubles in the new year. But, this year, I have decided to make one resolution, and I am determined not to waiver on my commitment to it; I will avoid poison ivy at all costs!

As I am writing this, my entire family is sleepless and itchy from a run in with some vines we thought were harmless. It all began when my husband rented a lift from Dot’s Rentals to put Christmas lights on our house. While we had this lift, we made the most of it and went full force DIY around the yard cleaning up trees. Fred looked at it as an opportunity to “play” on the lift a little more, so when I mentioned the trees that looked a little ugly out the windows, he was all in. After he cut the vines, the kids and I cleaned them up and burned them. Many lessons were learned from that seemingly harmless day in the yard: 1. A hairy vine with no leaves is poison ivy and is NOT dormant. 2. You are NEVER to burn poison ivy. 3. We are all allergic. 4. I deeply appreciate the local healthcare providers that take care of us. 5. There is some yard work that is best left to the professionals. Can you tell this has been a slightly traumatic experience?

My Nanny recently passed away, and as I have been thinking about moving into this new year, my mind keeps going back to a poem by Linda Ellis called “The Dash” that my sister read at her funeral.

The Dash by Linda Ellis

I read of a man who stood to speak
At the funeral of a friend
He referred to the dates on the tombstone
From the beginning… to the end

He noted that first came the date of birth
And spoke the following date with tears,
But he said what mattered most of all
Was the dash between those years

For that dash represents all the time
That they spent alive on Earth.
And now only those who loved them
Know what that little line is worth

For it matters not how much we own,
The cars… the house… the cash.
What matters is how we live and love
And how we spend our dash.

So, think about this long and hard.
Are there things you’d like to change?
For you never know how much time is left
That can still be rearranged.

If we could just slow down enough,
To consider what’s true and real
And always try to understand
The way other people feel.

And be less quick to anger
And show appreciation more
And love the people in our lives
Like we’ve never loved before.

If we treat each other with respect,
And more often wear a smile,
Remembering this special dash,
Might only last a little while

So, when your eulogy is being read,
With your life’s actions to rehash...
Would you be proud of the things they say
About how you spent YOUR dash?

So, for 2022, I hope to be more intentional with the way I spend my dash. Life is a privilege, and we only get one chance to live it. Let’s not waste one precious moment. Enjoy this month’s issue of Texarkana Magazine and from all of us HAPPY NEW YEAR!



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