Thursday, January 6, 2011

Dear Family

Never say never. This date is my middle child's birthday. As usual I invited him to lunch but as usual he ignored me and I ate alone, for two.

In December I sent out a summation of 2010 to my 5 siblings, enclosed in my holiday greeting card. Three responded with Christmas cards (up from none in 2009).

There is little to report from VA for 2010. Jimmy Rogers apparently lives somewhere in Arlington. Johnny apparently graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University. Danny apparently dropped out of Virginia Commonwealth University. Their Mother apparently lives in a first grade classroom in Falls Church, perhaps with her 2d husband, although I doubt he lives in a first grade classroom.

On my third annual Bucket Trip with my college buddies, this time rafting down the Dolores River out west, I apparently came within a few seconds of drowning under a wrapped boat in a rapids in UT. Once I got out from under the overturned raft I was washed down the rapids on a hair-raising ride. I went in seconds from knowing that I was going to die to thinking that I might live, which obviously I did.

It was an interesting couple of minutes in my life. Yet still, in the half-year since then, I haven’t bought a M/C, started practicing karate or moved to Key West. However, I did take a retirement seminar and have started clearing out my house, which is a slow process.

Does anybody want a WWII Marine Corps uniform [my Dad's dress uniform]? I left off a USMC flak jacket, some Marine medals and a New Jersey state wrestling championship pin at [my sister] Kate’s. [My younger brother's effects--he no longer speaks w/ me.]

Since I’m not running or volunteering my time currently, I have been going to the Falls Church-Episcopal church services a little and reading a lot. The Episcopalians attend mass in the loft of the Presbyterian Church because they were kicked out of their property by the homophobic members within their midst who illegally took over the historic church building and joined a Nigerian bishop who advocates stoning sinners, as near as I can figure. That property/contract dispute is dragging its way through the state court system.

My 12 favorite books I read this year were Plagues and Peoples by William H. McNeill, Shane by Jack Shaeffer, Never Enough by Joe McGinniss, The Stranger by Albert Camus, We Are Soldiers Still by Lt. Gen. Harold G. Moore and Joseph L. Galloway, The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, Skinny Dip by Carl Hiaasen, Collapse by Jared Diamond, If I Die in a Combat Zone by Tim O’Brien, The Price of Glory: Verdun 1916 by Alistair Horne, Islands of the Damned by R.V. Burgin with Bill Marvel, Hollywood Station by Joseph Wambaugh and Banners at Shenandoah by Bruce Catton.

I saw Kate twice, on a car baseball trip to the Mississippi River and at Thanksgiving. I saw Melissa in CO and spoke with Abby several times. I spoke with Hilary and Jack for the first time in a long time. I visited Zanesville OH, Johnstown PA, Shanksville PA and the federal courthouse in MO where the Dred Scott trials were held. I had breakfast with Erik [a childhood friend]. I saw 42 Boulevard [the house I grew up in on Staten Island], restored after the fire, and stopped in to see Mr. & Mrs. Murray on Staten Island.

I achieved the twenty year benchmark at my work and conducted my second trial, in Tampa. I stopped blogging and started face-booking. I discarded my laptop for a netbook. I got cable TV and now have access to two thousand channels of crap.

My unlocked car was burgled in my driveway while I slept. A friend of mine was killed in Afghanistan and I attended his funeral in Arlington National Cemetery. I am using my 7 1/2 foot artificial Xmas tree for the last time and will switch to a 5 1/2 foot model next year. My car gets 22 MPH on highway trips, turns 10 within a month and has 72K miles on it. I have attended games at 41 MLB parks and have 3 to go, knocking off KC, CWS, StL and the NYM this year. That’s all. So it goes.


[Next I say goodbye to my kids, now adults, and hope they have long and prosperous lives.]