I am convinced 2016 came and went faster than any other year of my life. I sincerely hope time slows down in 2017 as I’m beginning to feel my life flashing before my eyes.

The week before New Year’s Day, people usually start talking about their resolutions. Resolutions “smesolutions.” For most of us, giving things up lasts a couple of weeks (if we’re lucky). Thus, I would like to make a case for giving instead of giving up.

I first “met” Jim Barrett through letters he sent to me about my column. We exchanged letters for quite some time before I went, last December, to the nursing center where Mr. Barrett lives; however, when I arrived, he was in the dining room, so I was unable to meet him. I returned about two-and-a-half weeks ago, and this time, we were able to sit and talk for a bit. In our conversation, Mr. Barrett reminded me that there are people living in local nursing centers who do not have visitors. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if, in 2017, people would give some time each month to visit someone whose life would be brighter because of these visits? It could be a relative, a neighbor, or even a stranger who benefits from your year of giving.

Earlier this year, I was asked to serve on the board for Thirteen o’Clock Theatre, a 501 (c)(3) professional theatre in McAllen. I met the theatre’s artistic director, Jason Barrera, when I was teaching at McAllen High School. Jason is the theatre director at McHi. I have been moved by the dedication of Jason and the entire team at Thirteen o’Clock Theatre, not only because they left the Valley to earn their degrees and training and then returned to share their knowledge, talent, and experience with Valley youth, but also because they spend countless hours creating and teaching theatre classes and offering professional productions to the public.

As with most 501 (c)(3) organizations, Thirteen o’Clock has a “wish list.” Among the items on that list are the following:

Padded, stackable chairs with arms

2 x 4s (lumber) for set building

Tables and office furniture for their office and other furniture for their sets


Snacks that can be sold during their productions

Thirteen o’Clock Theatre could also use the help of some committed volunteers dedicated to the Arts.

Another 501 (c)(3) in McAllen is Comfort House, which provides a comfortable, homelike environment where individuals who are in the end stages of life may pass away peacefully, pain-free, and surrounded by loved ones. It is a place where love flows freely, and they rely heavily on volunteers and on donations. Comfort House has an extensive wish list. Here are some of the items they can always use:

Dish soap

Laundry detergent

Hand soap and hand sanitizer

Antibacterial wipes

Trash bags


Frozen vegetables

Bottled water and juices


Instant oatmeal packets

Cake/Cookie/Brownie/Pudding mixes


Instead of getting discouraged with resolutions “smesolutions” in 2017, consider giving of your time and/or giving to Thirteen o’Clock Theatre, Comfort House, and other nonprofit organizations in our community. Just imagine the wishes we all can fulfill!


Chris Ardis retired in May of 2013 following a 29-year teaching career. She now helps companies with business communications and social media and works as a sales coordinator for Tony Roma's and Macaroni Grill. Chris can be reached at cardis1022@aol.com.