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Pam Terrell Walker, a native of Rome, is a paralegal in Calhoun. Readers may email her at pamterrellwalker@gmail.com.

Hardwired for joy, Daddy nearly always had a smile on his face. Indeed, he had fun everywhere he went. There is a “happy gene” and Daddy certainly had it.

My son, Paul, is named after Daddy. Paul and I look very much like Daddy, and we both have his personality as well. My 2-year-old granddaughter, JuneMarie, and Paul and I all inherited that “happy gene!” Always laughing and having fun, JuneMarie is the happiest child I have ever seen.

There are many things that bring me a great deal of joy. A red tail hawk soaring overhead. Visiting with my grandchildren. Canadian geese flying overhead at sunset. Riding my bike at Berry. Watching the dragon flies dart around my handlebars on those bike rides. Hiking up Clock Tower Hill and seeing the red maples and the glorious yellow leaves of the ginkgo trees in the fall. Watching, from the kitchen window, the redbirds at the feeders in the backyard.

Paul is an Eagle Scout and he and I share Daddy’s zeal for being in the great outdoors, camping, hiking and canoeing. More things that bring me joy. A couple of years ago, Paul and I made a trip to Utah where we hiked Bryce Canyon, and Mount Zion. There is nothing like the American Southwest. I have hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon (Phantom Ranch), camped there, and made several day hikes. In the quiet, remote Arizona desert, surrounded by spectacular vistas, I thought, “Daddy! This one’s for you!” Making those hikes, and seeing the Grand Canyon, I could not help but think about how much Daddy would’ve enjoyed the hike I was making. Each and every time I am enjoying the great outdoors, I think about Daddy because he was such an enthusiast of hiking and camping and … just being outdoors.

We celebrated Christmas two days ago so I want to mention the Nativity Scene. Years ago, I remember going to the living room to look at the Nativity Scene. It was on an end table. The Christmas lights were on, and the lamps were turned off. Quiet and reverent, the living room was always the room in which the Nativity Scene was placed. With quiet admiration I looked at the Nativity Scene. I remember looking at the camel and, never having seen one, wondering if there really was such an animal. These days, looking at the Nativity Scene is a reminder of that great story and it is well that I smile when I see it.

I am reminded of Daddy and his joy for life. Paul, and JuneMarie and I are all hardwired for joy … as was Daddy. Through the years I have managed to maintain a childlike awe and wonder about life. Indeed. I get excited about life. I get excited about everything. We should all approach Christmas with childlike amazement.

Although I do not make New Year’s resolutions, I usually think of a “word theme” for the new year. A single word which inspires me. This year’s word theme is “Joy.” Start your new year with joy about life. Seek to maintain that joy throughout the year. That is a remarkable way to start the new year indeed. Happy New Year one and all!

Native Roman Pam Walker is a paralegal and welcomes your email to her at pamterrellwalker@gmail.com.