He resolves to visit more farmers in '01, a few other things

I MADE just two New Year's resolutions last year. One was to lose 20 pounds. The other was to help a friend build a footbridge over a gully in his front yard. I hit 500.

Want to guess which was which?

Well for 2001, I resolve to lose another 10 pounds and to help my friend finish that bridge over the gully in his front yard.

I usually make some kind of silly resolve on New Year's Day, mostly just for the fun of it. I was serious about that weight thing, however. Carrying excess baggage at my advanced age can be detrimental to one's health. Also, If there's one thing I hate more than to keep buying pants that get bigger and bigger it's to wear pants that keep me from breathing.

I now have three sets of jeans: regular, ample and huge. I'm currently in the regular ones and hope to add a new category next year - skinny.

I have other things I want to do in the first year of the new millennium. Like learn to fly fish. My wife says I have to since I just bought a new fly rod. It's funny how wives can't understand a man's need to own fishing tackle, probably no better than we understand why their closets contain so many shoes.

But you never know when you might need a good fishing pole. I only have six or seven and still don't get to use any of them as often as I need to. (I don't even bring up the subject of a boat any more. There's something about a boat as a yard ornament that causes wives to get tense. I speak from experience.)

I think I'd better resolve to keep from making my wife tense this year, too.

I want to visit more farms in 2001, especially if they have ponds on them. (See resolution No. 3.) But even if they're far away from any body of water, and many in the Southwest fall in that category, I want to spend more time getting to know the folks we work for. And, as I've told y'all before, visiting farmers is the most fun part of my job.

I'll try to get to some of those places I didn't visit in 2000: Las Cruces, N.M.; El Paso, Texas; Stillwater, Okla.; and a lot of farms in between.

I'd like to say that by this time next year I'll understand the workings of the Federal Crop Insurance program, but I know that's a pipe dream so I won't bother. It'll probably be different by then, anyway.

I'd like to be better at my job next year than I am today. (If I can accomplish those last two resolutions this one ought to pretty much take care of itself. But I'd like to check into a couple of writing workshops and maybe a photo session or two to fine-tune the craft.)

And if any of those workshops occur where the fishing is good, so much the better.

I think I may give up golf and forego sky diving, bungee jumping and motorcycle racing this year. Except for golf, which I've never been good at, I can honestly say doing without these activities will cause little change in my routine.

I will walk more (See resolution No. 1.) and may even try to break in those boots I bought on a whim last fall.

I'll try to be more organized. That will be extremely good news to my patient managing editor, Ben Pryor, and to my wife who doesn't believe I ever plan for anything.

And, finally, I will clean off my desk this year. Sometime. Maybe.

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