several pairs of my friends got married this year, and each of these couplings were wonderful people that really do belong together – 2008 has worked out marvelously for them, and i’m excluding them from this particular gripe. otherwise, i’ve spoken with a lot of friends about this year, and plenty of us want to just erase it. nothing to outlandishly generous are we hoping from divine/fsm/fate intervention, not a do-over, just a delete.
one friend started the new year in the hospital and followed it with several months of physical therapy. then her marriage went down the toilet. Chris totaled his car against a deer, but managed to escape injury himself. my other buddy who totaled his car against a fool wasn’t so lucky and ended up in the hospital for a bit. my ex-boss had to deal with her beloved old doberman fading from heart failure for a few months before waking up to find him cold and gone one morning. a coworker friend has had her mother in the hospital for 3 weeks, and now her dad in a different hospital (because the other hospital was closer when he threw that big ol’ heart attack over the stress of mom in the hospital). and i had to put down my furry companion of 12 years after her own painful fading, i found myself leaving a job i’d grown bored with on a rather stepped-up time frame, and tonight i find myself packing to go to te4xas several days earlier than planned.
my paternal grandmother was a really neat lady. she’s clearly the person i got my lifelong love of books from: her house was always a treasure trove of new novels. she was a junior-high teacher for 40-something years, and gave us all the spare young adult books out of her classroom (good lord did we hit the jackpot on library acquisitions when she retired!). additionally, she had plenty of grown-up books all over her house that i got into. i will never forget her alarm when i was a hundred pages into ‘clan of the cave bear‘, and how she had to take that one away from me until mom got home and she could explain to mom that this book contained s-e-x!! after mom said it was ok, i was never restricted in her book collection again. she always baked the most amazing cookies every holiday season, and i was snacking on delicious homemade “trash” years before they packaged it as a quite inferior version called “chex mix” (hint: follow the recipe on the back of the chex cereal box, add a bit more worchestershire sauce and maybe a pinch or 2 of brown sugar, use more nuts than called for. yum!). she gave us the kind of presents that kids love and parents hate (wee electronic keyboards, drum sets), so she was always awesome. every summer we were with them, she signed us up for educational programs at the museum or school – one summer we acquired basic kitchen spanish, in another we learned how to make paper – that were always simultaneously way fun. she was a tough old dragon, and i loved her to pieces. in recent years, she’d been diagnosed with ocular melanoma, and had to undergo several surgeries attempting to eradicate it. after this last one, she found out about spreading metastasis, and died peacefully at home this week.
goodnight, Ta, we’ll miss your holiday baking for every christmas to come.