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Holiday season means time for giving thanks again


It seems as we get older it comes sooner each year. It’s the joyful opportunity to consider and remember what we as Americans are so thankful for. I am thankful for so much that I could not express it all in this space. So let me start with thanks for my 35 years spent here in Las Cruces. I earned my doctorate degree in psychology at NMSU and became a licensed clinical psychologist. As a specialist in geriatric assessments and diagnosis I remain thankful for the long-term care facilities and hospitals throughout Southern New Mexico that sought my services, including the Mescalero Apache Tribe and Fort Bayard Medical Center.

When my wife, Suzanne, moved here in 1988 we played golf at the NMSU course, and we met Herb Wimberly. I realized immediately this was an individual who was more than a PGA professional and a college golf coach, but a very special person. Eventually, Herb and I would partner in Performance Golf Schools, and it was a joy to teach with Herb for 15 years. On Nov. 8, Herb was inducted into the PGA of America Hall of Fame in a ceremony in Frisco, Texas. Congratulations, Herb.

Next, I thank all first responders, including police, for their work. On Feb. 2, 2011, I suffered a nearly fatal fall from my roof. After a call from my wife, the EMTs were there within 10 minutes, and I was transported by helicopter to University Medical Trauma Center in El Paso where they operated on me within two hours. I was in a coma for three days, but thanks to their quick response I recovered and was back to work and golf in a few months.

Veterans Day was Nov. 11. We should all give our thanks to our active military service members and our veterans who give their all to protect our country and our freedom. I am a Vietnam Navy Veteran and proud of it. Yes, in 1968 I was on shore leave in San Francisco when I was spat upon by anti-war protesters, who I suspect were 20-year-old draft-dodgers.

In late September I attended the 63rd reunion of my 1960 high school graduating class in Lyndhurst, Ohio. There weren’t very many of a class of 500 who attended, but several of my closest friends from 1957 to 1960. They were my football buddies; our ball coach who is now 87 was even there. I was reminded of how much I value what these friends indirectly did for me. They were smart and made top grades; two were National Merit Scholars. I was a C+/B student in 1958. I knew I had to step up my classroom game, which I did. In the next two years I made all A’s. That was the difference in me getting accepted to the University of Notre Dame. Among these friends, one was an executive at IBM, another a professor at a university in Connecticut, another a business professor at Akron University, our deceased friend was an architect and, finally, one of my best friends retired as president of Apple USA. It was a joy to thank these fellows in person after all these years.

Here in Doña Ana County I am truly thankful we have four championship golf courses at our disposal. That’s a lot for a town of our size and, yet, there are times when it’s hard to get a tee time. Las Cruces and environs have a lot of avid golfers. And it’s no wonder, since the weather here is conducive to golf year-round, which I’m also thankful for.

In January I will start my 19th year writing my weekly golf column for the Las Cruces Bulletin. It has been a joy and a challenge and a rewarding experience all in one. But no money. This has been a labor of love from the beginning. My biggest reward is hearing compliments from our readers. Thank you, Richard Coltharp for all your assistance and unwavering support.

Thank you to New Mexico’s Lieutenant Governor Howie Morales for issuing a proclamation naming yours truly as the “Doctor of Golf” for the State of New Mexico, and  presenting the proclamation personally in a small ceremony in mid-July. Thanks also to Dave Kimble for championing the award.

Finally, we can all be thankful this holiday season that we are blessed to live in the USA.