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Pody's column: A difficult year is over

I can't believe it is 2012 already, but I am so grateful I made it through 2011. Starting the cold, nasty winter in two hospitals, swing beds and nursing homes I missed most of the worst weather but enjoyed the late spring, nice summer and fall like weather that lasts through December.

2011 was filled with coast-to-coast disasters: floods, tornados, fires and drought stretched FEMA, the Salvation Army and Red Cross to their limits. We haven't fixed the BP oil spill, fishermen continue to struggle and our unemployment runs high. Food and gas prices are going up and there isn't relief in the immediate future.

Our national debt continues to rise but the United States continues to borrow from China and passes out aid to countries. Many of them don't even like us. It is a time of irresponsible politics and unlimited resources.

We are entering our sixth year of national and state campaigning. The media loves to analyze and submit polls. Every channel uses their own numbers with results that support their cause. Even our four news channels give four different forecasts a day.

Newscasts are filled with shootings, suicide, accidents and protesters filled with anger and hate. Our courts are filled with cases and appeals while nothing gets resolved.

Usually listening or watching sports can be a diversion but 2011 didn't give Minnesota fans much to cheer about. The Lynx brought home a championship but that was overshadowed by doom and gloom on the proposed Vikings Stadium.

Even NASCAR stooped to unheard of scandals turning off old loyal fans. Remember not too many years ago when we thought a billion dollars was a lot of money? Today we don't blink twice when the ticker tape rolls over trillions in a year.

Retail ads for Christmas appeared before back to school sales were over.  Somehow we missed Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas as Holiday sales were calculated in polls about consumer spending.

I was at a Christmas party several weeks ago talking with a 93-year-old friend.  She said it was the worst year she ever lived through.  It was so depressing she turned off her television and radio all day. She worked in her garden, listened to music, went for walks with friends, reconnected with old friends, visited attractions in the Twin Cities, read and pursued new hobbies. 

She lived through the Depression but she said this was different. People had hope 70 years ago but it was missing now.  Neighbors helped neighbors.  There weren't government entitlements or hand outs and people were happy to pay taxes. Children were raised in orphanages often run by a church not foster care. Churches and religion were the center of the communities. Families considered education a privilege and teachers were respected. The divorce rate was very low as families worked together, raising most of their food and meat. 

She told me that most of the new recipes came from the healthy creative recipes of the Depression era.  The means of communication in most homes was a battery operated radio or the telephone party line. She ended the conversation with, "There were a few rules, but back then people had common sense and lived by the 10 Commandments. That was before big government thought they knew best for our families and citizens."

It gives us all something to think about.

Happy New Year. May 2012 be filled with hope for the future our great nation.