This year has been a period of re-adjustment to living without the faithful partner of almost sixty-four years. Many things have helped.
•Janet has moved to an apartment in St. Louis. She comes over regularly and keeps in touch with me daily and sometimes several times in a day. Telephone service and e-mails are a great help.
•Gary comes down at least once a week and helps keep the place running. I went up there for Thanksgiving.
•My friend and neighbor, Charlie, keeps track of me like I was his baby chick. Just this morning he called and asked me what was my favorite food. Dinner.
•Neighbor Patty and her three children are almost like a second family. The middle daughter that I helped get started on the violin, was listed as the head second violin player in the recent concert.
Janet helps her with the music. The youngest, N., was having trouble with school. She comes up once a week and sometimes oftener for help and fun. She enjoys the old songs, picking out the tunes on the piano, and jumping in the hayloft. Many people have helped. She is doing better in school.She leaves me with a hug, just like my great grand children.
•My book Cattle Country and Back Trail: Two Tales from the Thompson Western Series was published this year. We had a reading and book signing session at the Alton Library. It was an enjoyable meeting. One of the visitors said: “I watched him write it!” I did most of my writing during inclement weather when I worked for Union Electric, and he had also worked there at that time.
•My ninety-second birthday was celebrated with a square dance. We furnished our own music, and had a fine gathering of friends and relatives. K. estimated fifty people. I have a music group that meets here most Sunday afternoons.
So. I am sitting here in the dining room, looking out of the window. The view could not be better. I have the river, the snow, and the big hemlock tree that has been there all of my lifetime.
I feed the birds, in spite of the fact that bird feed has doubled in price due to the oil in the sunflower seeds. Unbelievable! I see the redbirds, chickadees, tufted titmice come and eat. They smile at me when they leave. Join me as I sit here. I am living in the lap of luxury.