I play guitar. Sort of. I’ve been picking at it for some 35 years on and off. I play by ear, at least that’s what I say. I can pick up a melody rather quickly and then the chords, although my speed is like the service sit-down restaurant versus that of a drive-through. My preferred style is jazz, but more specifically Gypsy “swing” jazz. Possibly more difficult, it’s a musical style popularized by Romanian and Belgian nomads and popularized by musician Django Reinhart.

This new jazz guitar technique (1930s) is somewhat different than the jazz that grew out of the blues of Mississippi Delta or Chicago blues scene, but now it’s blended as many other musical genres with other types of jazz.

Playing any musical instrument takes practice, daily practice, and for an hour at best and a half-an-hour at least. It doesn’t sound like much time but, much like a daily regimen at the gym or on the treadmill, it can be difficult to maintain.

As unimportant, insignificant and temporary as resolutions are, it seems that most of us make them. My resolution this year involves the fleeting effort to increase my practice guitar time and do a better job of minding my health.

These are weak resolutions say some advocates of positive life goals.

An article in the Wall Street Journal, December 26, 2009, stated, “Recent research shows that while 52% of participants in a resolution study were confident of success with their goals, only 12% actually achieved their goals. A separate study in 2007 by Richard Wisemen from the University of Bristol showed that 78% of those who set New Year resolutions fail, and those who succeed have 5 traits in common. Men achieved their goal 22% more often when they engage in goal setting, (a system where small measurable goals are being set; such as, a pound a week, instead of saying “lose weight”), while women succeeded 10% more when they made their goals public and got support from their friends.”

On, I found an article written by Gary Ryan Blair on the history of New Year’s resolutions.

“The tradition of the New Year’s Resolutions goes all the way back to 153 B.C. Janus, a mythical king of early Rome was placed at the head of the calendar.

“With two faces, Janus could look back on past events and forward to the future. Janus became the ancient symbol for resolutions and many Romans looked for forgiveness from their enemies and also exchanged gifts before the beginning of each year.

“The New Year has not always begun on January 1, and it doesn’t begin on that date everywhere today. It begins on that date only for cultures that use a 365-day solar calendar. January 1 became the beginning of the New Year in 46 B.C., when Julius Caesar developed a calendar that would more accurately reflect the seasons than previous calendars had.

“The Romans named the first month of the year after Janus, the god of beginnings and the guardian of doors and entrances.”

The entrance into 2012 could be a challenge for many who have been struggling through the Great Recession. I think we should all add to our resolutions a an effort to help give a leg up to those who are less fortunate. I’m not just talking about the obvious disadvantaged but someone who might be your neighbor; someone who has lost their job or just getting involved in something that helps everyone in your own community. Make a resolution to make our home a better place to live.

What I think will help breath a little more life into the area will be the arrival of Amazon. It should spur the opening of some new businesses and make current businesses a little more vibrant; give us a chance to improve our community, pump up cultural opportunities and make long overdue improvements. I resolve to add a little more effort into making southeastern an even better place to live, through help from you, adding a little something to our public quality of life.

Don’t you want to make a resolution to make your village, whether Ettrick, Bensley or even Chester become the villages we want them to be? Remember when Chester wasn’t just a place you passed on your way to Walmart? We should make a community resolution to make our community a destination not a pass through. Happy New Year.


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