Highlights from a year that didn’t have many
Once again, Captain JP has issued a request for his fellow bloggers to submit their top 10 blog posts for the year. As my previous post indicated, this has been, yet again, annus horribilis, with too many disasters to count.
But I did find 10 posts that were, at least in some way memorable. Here they are:
I started the year with observations about astronomy, tides, and how Pat and I got into sailing, with A tale from the past.
Those of you who have known me for some time know about my love-hate relationship with photocopiers, including how a copier figured strongly in my novel Murder at the Community College. In February, I had an ironic experience, recounted in The copier temptation.
Also in February, Tillerman issued a challenge: Write about the worst sailing innovation ever. My contribution: Work.
In March, a fellow instructor at the community college, whom I also knew through the sailing club, died suddenly and unexpectedly. Then a week later, Pat’s dad passed away. The Old Soldier had lived a long life, and he didn’t want a fancy funeral – no fancy church service or procession or anything like that. What he got was a very simple graveside service, with his fellow veterans from the American Legion providing an honor guard to shoot a 21-gun salute and blow “Taps” on a bugle. He would not have wanted anything fancier. I reflected on his life in Sending the Old Man Home.
As it turned out, the Old Soldier had chosen a beautiful time of the year in Texas to die, and according to the people who follow such things, this past spring was one of the best ever for Texas wildflowers. Planting wildflowers along highways was a passion of former First Lady Lady Bird Johnson. We took many great pictures on the way home from the funeral, and I put some photos online in Thank you, Lady Bird.
May 1 was the most devastating day of the year. Our extremely dear sailing friend Marty Stevenson went overboard from the boat he was on as we were preparing to hold a regatta. I wrote about how much he meant to us in A few words about Marty. I had been planning to deliver those words at his memorial service. Unfortunately, his widow would not let me or anyone else from the sailing club speak. So nobody heard those words. Only those who read them in the blog or the sailing club newsletter ever received them.
On a lighter note, I did get into one of the more specialized cooking techniques that I know. I have known all of my life about Beer can chicken, a tradition I probably learned from relatives in Arkansas, but for many others, it was a novel method.
July was funeral time again. Another sailing fried passed away. This time, it was not so shocking; he had been in declining health for some time. And his widow and family welcomed me to speak at his funeral, In Memory of Richard Dittmar. It is good to laugh at a funeral, when it’s remembering what made us all so joyful about the person who is now no longer among us.
There was another memorial in July. My colleague had died in a car accident in June; his family and very close friends had had a small, private funeral. But long before his death, he had made his wishes clear to his family and partner: He didn’t want mourning; he wanted a party. So that was what he got. I summed up that party in Remembering Herman.
In September, we had car troubles. Babe, the Ford Expedition, has been increasingly having problems with electronics. As it turns out, the troubles that led to When machines rebel were not electronic but physical – the rear differential and axle essentially disintegrated – but at the time, it was easy to blame the computers.
Then I had another trip down memory lane, thinking about classic cars and beautiful times on a European road trip nearly 30 years ago. I don’t like big roads; I like little ones. I don’t like big places; I like little ones.
So 2010 on the blog was often melancholy or wistful. It’s been a rough year. I will very much miss the people who are no longer with us. But I know I will go on.
Labels: cars, cats, family, friends, tadpole, teaching, work, writing