2008 has been a year of abrupt endings for me, and to tell you the truth, I am glad it’s over.  It started nearly a year ago today when I lost one of my closest friends I’ve ever had to a heart attack.  Rich was a baseball dad like me, and our sons played together on the same summer teams since the boys were 12 years old and were college roommates and teammates at El Paso.  He came home from work one day and had a heart attack, we buried him two days before Christmas last year.  Rich was 48 years old.  I still pick up the phone to call him when Ohio State plays an important game, or last year during the baseball playoffs I caught myself scrolling through my phone to call him to discuss the outcome of a game.  It seems so odd that he is not there anymore.

In January I lost my son-in-law and granddaughter to a drunk driver, the toughest thing I have ever had to endure.  My granddaughter was our little angel and one couldn’t have asked for a better son-in-law.  We are all still in shock over our loss and it remains hard to even think about it.  My daughter is doing better and has moved into her own apartment and even though she and I don’t talk often, she seems to be doing as well as can be expected.

In May, my son came home from college and told me he was done with baseball.  On one hand I was relieved, on the other I was crushed.  So much of our lives have revolved around the sport since he was 4 years old.  He took a break and didn’t go back to school this semester, and I hope he gets his act together and gets back into school in the spring.  I love my son with all my heart, its just that he’s 20 years old and sees that love as something destructive rather than something positive.

In July, I lost my longtime companion Cutter.  He was actually Shannon’s dog, but I inherited him when she and I got married.  I miss sitting on the couch watching TV with him sitting beside me, and still every day I still look over to where his food bowl was on the way out the door.  I can’t bring myself to get another pet, Cutter was a special dog.  My dad, who doesn’t like pets even stated that Cutter was the best dog he’s ever been around.

In October it seems we lost our economy and the stock market crashed with fury not seen since 1929.  It didn’t affect our business until the last few weeks, but we are seeing the writing on the wall.  At the peak this summer we had over 100 employees and are now down to our core group of 30 trying to weather the storm.  I try to stay as upbeat as I can because I am the face for the company with our customers, and the last thing we need is pessimism creeping throughout the company. 

And now in December, we are losing this blog.  Jim has decided to end all new publications on KCL as it has taken a direction that he didn’t like.  I knew this day would come, but didn’t expect it quite so soon.  I will continue to blog, but at Beyond Right Field, a site I set up last summer.  If you have enjoyed my postings here, please add a bookmark to your favorites on your browser. 

As a way not to end this on such a drag, let me state that this year has also been one of the best ever.  My wife and I are happier than we have ever been, my step-daughter walked across the stage at Sam Houston State University last weekend with her degree, my nine year old is as happy and vibrant as ever. 

Shannon and I are truly blessed and wish to take this moment and wish everybody a Merry Christmas.