Dear Family and Friends,
What a year this has been, my first year alone in seven years, and you know what? Although I miss Bill and still cry from time to time while listening to Susan Boyle, as I’m doing now, it’s nice being alone again. I can eat when I want what I want, work for hours uninterrupted, sleep through the night without having to get up and empty a urinal umpteen million times. But now, the house is quiet, especially during baseball season without the thwack of ball against bat, the roar of the crowd, and the excited radio announcers’ voices. I miss sitting with him at the dinner table, although I hated getting up frequently to get him more to eat or drink. I miss talking to him and holding him in bed at night, feeling his soft hair against my face, drinking in the scent of his shampoo. My life won’t be the same without him, but I must and will go on.
In February of last year, Behind Our Eyes, a group of writers with disabilities to which I belong, decided to start publishing its second anthology. As some of you know, our first collection of poems, stories, and essays was published in 2007. The second book is more of the same and was published in August of this year. After publication, several authors complained about mistakes in their work so we decided to have it reprinted. The new edition has just been released and is available on Amazon in print and Kindle formats.
In March of last year, I spent a week with my brother Andy and his family in Jupiter, Florida. Featured attractions included a boat ride, a walk on the beach, and a visit to a jazz club in West Palm Beach. We also took a picnic lunch to the seaside to celebrate my nephew’s birthday. I would have gone in the water, but the tide was so incredibly high. It was a wonder we didn’t all get washed out to see along with our lunch.
In April, to celebrate National Poetry Day, my third Thursday poets’ group held a reading at the senior center. Several of us read from our work, and a good time was had by all. I also attended a workshop in Casper, Wyoming, about a two-hour drive south of Sheridan. The program was about writing found poetry which involves using material from other sources in your work. It was interesting, but I doubt I’ll do much of that because of the legal issues involved.
In June, I attended a writers’ conference in Laramie, about an eight-hour drive south of here. About five of us writers drove down together, and it was a lot of fun. The conference was informative.
The rest of the summer was pretty uneventful until August. As I said before, Behind Our Eyes: A Second Look was published, and until all the errors were discovered, it was an exciting time. Two of my poems were included, and no mistakes were made there.
At the end of August, a shocking thing happened. My father passed away. He had heart trouble for years so I shouldn’t have been surprised when the authorities found him on the floor in his kitchen after many unsuccessful attempts by me to reach him. He apparently went right away with no evidence of a struggle.
He was cremated, and his service was held at the end of August. Most of our family, scattered across the country, came together. For the first time in a long while, I played the piano and sang with Andy accompanying me on drums. We performed “Straighten Up and Fly Right,” and Dad would have loved it.
After the service, a light lunch was served in the funeral home’s dining room. That night, my aunt Junior and uncle Roger, who live here in town, hosted a barbecue at their house in the country south of town. The next morning, a bunch of us got together for breakfast at Perkins. I told everyone it’s a shame the only time we all get together is when somebody gets married or dies. We need to have a family reunion more often, and maybe this is something I need to initiate.
Now here it is, the first of December, and it’s hard to imagine how quickly the time has flown. In just three short weeks, I’ll be on a plane to Florida where I’ll spend Christmas in the tropics with Andy and his family. I had a wonderful visit with them in March, and I’m looking forward to more good times. I hope you all have an enjoyable holiday season and a prosperous new year to come.