2016, out it goes. As I write this, it is New Year’s Eve. And as years go, it was a tough one. On a worldwide level we witnessed the atrocities of the Islamic State in the Middle East and Assad’s horrific bombing of innocents in the Syrian Civil War. In our own country civilians and policemen were senselessly gunned down as they went about their daily lives. Young people by the thousands struggled with their addictions to opioids and died. It’s all enough to make a person very cynical about life, if not depressed.

And yet there are croutons.

When I am feeling especially down about life, whether it is the world at large or the struggles and loss of our own family, I like to talk to my 2-year-old grandson. He seems very wise for his age. We were discussing a party that he attended with his parents the other day. He was explaining to me that Momma tried to get him to eat green salad at the party.

“Don’t you like salad?” I asked.

“Mamma and Dadda like salad. I don’t like it, but I do like the croutons,” he said.

Croutons, they are the little gems of the salad that even a 2-year-old likes. And maybe this lesson can be applied to our lives. Sometimes we don’t like the main dish, but the embellishments are OK. We can snatch them up to save the meal.

Often the main fare of our lives is hard to digest, but like croutons on a salad, there are tidbits that can make it more palatable: the feel of a baby’s fingers wrapped around your own, the beauty of new fallen snow on pine boughs, or the melody of a special song.

We can’t fix the ills of the world, our country or our families without a long hard fight, if at all. But we can help ourselves live through it by embracing the little things that are special and sweet. Right now it’s the croutons of life that keep me going.

Deane Buuck

Readfield