One More Year in Review


Clinton, South Carolina, Monday, December 24, 2018, 1:31 p.m.

By Monte Dutton

I’ve been working on stories about the year in review, so I guess I might as well take up the subject of my own.

Milestones come at intervals by definition, I suppose, but they’re not necessarily significant just because they end with a “0” or a “5.” I turned 60 this year, but I don’t think it made me wiser. I didn’t just awaken on April 8 and feel noticeably older. I was just a day further from the cradle and closer to the grave.


What’s a day? What’s a year?

What’s the fourth Red Sox world championship in 15 seasons? Now, that, sir or ma’am, means something.

I still don’t care about money unless I don’t have it, which means it has been on my mind constantly for six years. This year brought some relief and the promise of resolution. The important date wasn’t when I turned 60. The important date is in a few weeks. I’ll be freeeee … but not free falling.

Scrambling to make a living, I sat aside too much this year. I haven’t written but a few songs. My eighth novel has slowed to a crawl. I haven’t gotten out my pastels and completed any drawings in a long time. I haven’t read as much. I’ve probably written twice as much, but most was on some sort of deadline related to hours, not days or months.

The saying “necessity is the mother of invention” found new meaning when I grew a beard because my electric razor died. People who like a beard will tell you while you’ve got it. People who don’t will wait until you shave it off.

Monte Dutton

Just yesterday something new occurred to me. A Christmas Parade is the anti-Halloween. People bring candy to you. I thought of this yesterday at Mount Pleasant when a tiny Tootsie Roll bounced off my noggin.

Also, I ponder a haircut for at least a couple of months before I actually get one (and I need one now). I end up getting a haircut when I’ve got time on my hands (Don Williams added “… you on my mind, nowhere to spend all my money …”) and a Great Clips is nearby. I just get an all-over No. 8 because Carl Yastrzemski wore that number. It’s quite short, and then it gets quite long.


I didn’t diet but lost a little over 20 pounds. I just started eating twice a day. Usually I fix my own breakfast unless I have a morning appointment. Sometimes I eat out before or after. Sometimes I have lunch. If I have a luncheon to attend, I skip breakfast.

I need a new belt. Or a hole-puncher.

At this rate, I’ll still be quite fat when I die. But, as Rick Nelson wrote, “It’s all right now. Learned my lesson well. Can’t please everybody. Just got to please yourself.” Much besides politics is the art of the possible.

I grew to love hummus. A friend brought some to my house. We barely touched it, and he left it on the coffee table with some wheat crackers. I ate it. It grew on me.

If I make an impulse buy and get a milkshake at the drive-through, that night I just snack for supper. A year ago I was slowly gaining weight and never eating sweets. This year I wasn’t worrying about sweets and gradually losing weight.

Go figure. One more way I set an egregious example. Don’t try this at home, kids, and don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys.

This year has generally been better than the ones that preceded it. It’s a start. I don’t have time for many more comebacks. One of the phrases in almost all of my prayers is “forgive me of my sins, of which there are many.” As Tom T. Hall wrote, “… it could be that the good Lord likes a little pickin,’ too.”

Strummin,’ in my case.

Merry Christmas. Happy New Year. Try to do whatever floats your boat. Boats float in many ways.


The Barrie Jarman Adventures (Gabe Whisnant photo)

If you become a patron of mine, you’re supporting writing like this as well as my mostly NASCAR blogs at If you’ve got a few bucks a month to spare, click here.

Another way I cobble out a living is with my books, a wide variety of which is available for sale here.

(Steven Novak cover)


The new novel, my eighth, is called Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

Lightning in a Bottle is now available in an audio version, narrated by Jay Harper.


One thought on “One More Year in Review


    I used a nail and hammer on my belt. Good luck. Still enjoy your musings and miss your music. Best wishes for 2019. Mike Owens

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.