Ask the CPA

Just Chris writing this time

Christopher Hughes

Greetings –

In one of my last “fun” columns of the year, as we approach the magical time that children across the world dream about, AKA Tax Season 2022, we offer you a guest appearance from Chris in Webb City. Not Christopher Hughes, CPA, the “What time is that game with The IRS this week? Dude, this is going to be fun” working stiff. No, this is the WCHS Class of 1979 Chris, you follow?

I love November, always have. The double dip of Thanksgiving and Birthday the same week was always, I thought, neat. Plus, you know, it is the heart of the football season, when the cream begins to rise to the top of the division races. And some of my favorite weather of the year. The pollen and mosquitos are gone, not only due to a hard freeze, but also because of Webb’s gnarly Public Works team. I’ve been around. You don’t teach a guy to run a bucket the way Lloyd does in a month or year or three. No sir, if you had been there, I think you would agree–watching him work was like watching Giada DeLaurentis ice a cake. Or like listening to Bonnie Raitt sing in that smoky voice of hers while wailing away on the slide guitar. One pass with the #1 ranked driver in the 4 state area, and my ditch is as smooth as quartersawn white oak hand-rubbed to a piano top lacquer squint-your-eyes finish. It just doesn’t get any better in my world. I will save my “you kids get those bikes out of my ditch” story for another column.

November 2021 will go down in the Book of My Life as if it were not only like having a losing season, but as if this year’s squad was so devastated by injury and Acts of God that we did not even go on the team bus to play the East Newton freshman team. No offense. Well…never mind..

My life changed in a profound way around my birthday. Jack and I were playing frisbee outside. My kind of reminds-me-of-my-Mom-in-some-way neighbor who welcomed me to the neighborhood with a coconut cream pie, a big smile, and a look in her eye that told me she was good people, was outside as well. Some people, you know immediately they are good people, yeah? The kind of honest, spiritual, thoughtful, cheerful, a motor like the Energizer Bunny, smarter than you, but she is too kind to let you know, proud, and occasionally child-like playful, people that you want to have in your daily life.

As I turned 60 recently, I have been…dude, what have you been doing? Well, since you asked, Jack the Heeler and I have been working on all sorts of things around here. Setting my billing rates for the year. Trying to get as much done as I can before going back to work for a few months full time. Cogitating. Planning. Thinking. Reflecting. Living like I was Tim McGraw’s dad in that song. Trying to be mindful and respectful. Meditating. Living in the moment. Breathing. Just being me. Whatever floats your boat. In that respect, November 2021 has been a refreshing and enlightening month. All in a very good way.

Last week, though, my neighbor tested positive for COVID. And it feels like a Tesla high-beam light has been turned down around here. I don’t know how else to describe it.

In addition to my immediate sadness, anger, frustration, and guilt, the profound part came around midnight a few nights after she texted me with her test results. It struck me that I quite possibly am looking at the last interaction I will ever have with her.

And that makes me sad in a way that I cannot begin to tell you how it feels. But I do not like it. They say you cannot change the past, and this is true. But in my world, it is OK to go Doom-level Berserk about it. For a bit.

This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice.

Christopher Hughes, CPA

Chris Hughes, a proud Webb City High School grad, is back home after 30 years in business in the Dallas, Texas, area. He invites Sentinel readers to send any questions about income taxes, keeping the books, the IRS, or how ’bout them Chiefs and Cardinals. Questions should not include personal financial information. Send questions to