It’s 2019.

The past couple of weeks have really been strange for me, as well as my staff, due to when Christmas and New Year’s Day fell during the week. We normally go to press early Tuesday morning for the midweek edition and early Friday morning for the weekend edition. We made some pretty drastic changes in our printing schedule since the folks who operate the press in Rosenberg had off Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day.

As of today, we are back to our normal production schedule, and it feels great.

It wasn’t altogether bad, however, since we had four days off for Christmas. I took full advantage of the days off. I was able to see all but one of my siblings, my sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law, both daughters, their husbands, all four grandchildren, my parents, and my mother-in-law.

That’s easy to do if one doesn’t mind driving more than 1,200 miles in four days! We covered the original Southwest Airlines’ triangle (Houston-San Antonio-Dallas), but in a car with two dogs.

A few days prior to that four-day Christmas break, my wife and I made a trip to the Houston area for the birth of our grandson. A few days after the Christmas break, we picked up the brother and sister of the newborn and brought them to Rockport, giving the parents a little break … plus I had promised them a trip to Fulton’s new playground equipment, which they think is way cool.

The crazy schedule ended with my wife and I flying to Jacksonville to watch the Aggies play in the Gator Bowl (our Christmas gift to each other).

Although the “real” Christmas tree has wilted, and has been discarded, we still have one more Christmas to celebrate with the kids and grandkids since we weren’t able to be together at one time. It will be different without a tree, but it fits perfectly into the crazy schedule the past couple of weeks.

Memories of my daughters waking up Christmas morning to see their gift(s) from Santa were renewed when I watched our oldest grandchild do the Christmas morning routine.

Ben stood at the door of the bedroom in which we slept and quietly said, “Nani … Poppie,” as if seeking permission to walk downstairs to see if Santa had stopped at his house during the night.

We jumped up and tried to keep up with him as he ran down the stairs, making sure we made enough noise so his parents knew “it” was about to happen. They met us in the living room, and Ben beamed, shouting, “Look, Santa brought me the train set I always wanted … and he put it together … and he ate the gingerbread cookies and drank the milk!”

I take great pleasure in putting the grandkids in bed at night, telling them stories, talking about whatever they want to talk about, and saying prayers.

On Christmas Eve, Ben abruptly said, “Poppie, I think I’m ready to go to sleep by myself.”

He wanted to make sure he went right to sleep so he stayed on Santa’s “nice” list.

My hope for 2019 is that we can all live a little more like children on Christmas Eve … trying to stay on the “nice” list.

We have that choice every day.

Here’s to a great 2019!

Until next week, have a good week.

Mike Probst can be reached at

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