January 4, 2024

Journey into 2024 will be different


            Yes, I know.

            This is 2024, and artificial intelligence (AI) is the new thing.

            Some people would argue that my “intelligence” has been “artificial” for 75 years, and they aren’t talking about the 2024 variety of AI.

            As I step into the New Year, the journey will be different.  And again, I am not talking about technology.  I am talking about the absence of my personal board of directors. All—except my dad—lived deep into their 90s. In 2023, I delivered eulogies for my remaining two directors—H.G. (Pat) Pattillo and Dr. Lanier (Doc) Harrell. Doc professed, “Dying is a part of living.” 

            Years ago, I decided to have my own personal board of directors to serve as mentors.  We didn’t meet as a group. But I sought their advice, one-on-one. Their wisdom, their loyalty and their friendship were compass-like as I navigated life’s challenges over the past several decades.

            There’s a saying: “If you find a box turtle on top of a fence post, you can be sure that it didn’t get there by itself.”

            The six personal directors weren’t the only people who have played a vital role in my development.  I could make a list of 100. But as we greet 2024, I want to pay memorial tribute to my dad, Dink NeSmith Sr., Dr. J.W. Fanning, Jimmy Sullivan, James Harper, Pat Pattillo and Dr. Lanier Harrell.

            I don’t need AI to tell me that I’ve been fortunate. Two of life’s greatest treasures are family and friends. I know that I’ve been richly blessed with both.

And I greet 2024 with gratitude for all who have given me a lift up on “the fence post.”

            Happy New Year!