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Here's a toast to getting the most out of 2013
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I was always a big fan of Bugs Bunny cartoons. There was a recurring theme where an electronic machine would transfer the brain and voice of Bugs with Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd or Porky Pig.

For a portion of the cartoon, the character would take on the complete personality of the other.

I don’t know that I would want the complete transfer from someone else, but I know several people who I gladly take a small transfer of their talents.

Spencer is a friend of mind who was a star player at Treutlen County High School two decades ago. He can still throw or hit a ball with a good measure of the prowess he had in high school.

I, on the other hand, was the last kid picked at any sport. I played a game of softball this year for the first time in probably 30 years. There was no epiphany where I suddenly became a softball aficionado. I’m still about as good as I was 30 years ago.

My friend, Mark, can just do magic things with a piano. I’m a mediocre player and I play by ear.

I could go on about friends who have great ability.

I am a pretty good writer and speaker and there are folks who are envious of that.

However, after 52 and half years on this planet, there are things that will not change. I could practice softball or piano every day and I would never be in the league with my friends.

To the best of my knowledge, the transfer machine is only the stuff of cartoons and science fiction.

So, as I approach the start of 2013, I think it is best to focus on the things I can change as I make those oft-broken resolutions.

I’m going to use my ability to write and will write more words of encouragement. I won’t do it by e-mail, either. I want to take the time to write a note or letter to someone every week to brighten their path a bit. A friend and I were talking the other day about how much a hand-written note means to someone.

I’m going to be a better friend. And that’s not a Facebook friend, that’s a real friend. I have used the Internet to reconnect with a few people who have made an impact in my life. This year, I want to sit down face-to-face and talk about times that were good for both of us. There are many people with whom I need to catch up.

I want to use my faith better. On occasion, I have opportunities to share my faith with others. I should do this every day. There is a great old song that says, “If I can help somebody as I go along, my journey shall not be in vain.” I want to repeat that concept often.

There are other things that are regulars on my list of resolutions. I need to eat better, exercise more and take care of myself. I have asked a few friends to nudge me in the year ahead when I stray from that goal.

I want to be a better husband and father. Those are two that I find there is room for improvement.

I hope that a year from now, I can exclude the words, “if only,” from my vocabulary.

Harris Blackwood is a Gainesville resident whose columns appear on the Sunday Life page and on

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