Here it is, the beginning of a brand new year. Personally, I am glad the last one is behind me. But then again, it's called life...and death. I lost a few more family members and friends this past year and will remember them always in my heart.
Although, as I look back on the days of the year gone by, I have some wonderful memories as well. I may have touched on a few of these moments during my contributions here, if so, just consider it a “Best Of.”
I often think to myself, if I could have one day to relive each year as a “favorite,” what would I choose that one to be? My 2013 choice would have to be our daughter's high school Valedictorian Speech in May on her graduation day, as she paid tribute to my Dad in a poem he obviously loved, that we found this year, a few years after his passing, tucked away in his desk drawer.
I had read it a month earlier at his gravesite with family members on the day we laid my Aunt and Godmother (his older sister) to rest. I recall a few weeks later being in that packed high school auditorium and saw the title of her speech, “I Wish You Enough.” Needless to say the tears welled in my eyes, as well as my Mom's as she sat next to me, and glanced over. The following are the words taken from that speech of hers:
"In conclusion, I would like to read a poem that we found in my grandpa's desk after he passed away. My grandpa was always incredibly proud of me, and I hope I can honor him today by reading this poem by an unknown author not only in his memory but also as a genuine wish for all of you, my fellow classmates of 2013.
I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.
I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.
I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.
I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger.
I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.
I wish you enough hello’s to get you through the final good-bye.
My class of 2013, I wish you all enough."
I had my camera with me (imagine that) to photograph the event, and it doubled as a mask to (somewhat) cover the tears rolling down both of my cheeks. I have been proud of her and her accomplishments throughout her young life, but never as much as I was that afternoon.
That day was also made special by her favorite Aunt who, although battling cancer and the effects of her chemotherapy treatments, was there to see her graduate. She leaned over afterward and told me, “I wouldn't have missed this for anything.”
And she didn’t. The bond she and our daughter shared was unbreakable, as she was truly a light in her life, and they would go on vacations, concerts and week long dining and shopping trips together over the years. She was truly one of a kind. Sadly, she passed away a few short months later. She was only 52. She is greatly missed by all whose lives she touched.
I then saw that “little girl” of mine start college a few weeks later, and have been blessed with the fact that she is only an hour and a half away. She has been home since Thanksgiving (as they are on a Trimester System) and she will be heading back this weekend. I didn't realize how much I missed that smile, her laugh and sense of humor, not to mention those great hugs she gives. I remain proud of her and am amazed at the connection she still keeps with my mom, her grandma, and how she keeps her laughing with her stories of school and her changing life. I am truly grateful to share in some of that as well.
I was actually able to revisit a few of my favorite sites over the past two weeks, between “somewhat warm days,” snowy ones, and days of freezing cold temperatures, and will post some here. Some of them include an abandoned railroad club car, a slightly ice coated 1961 Ford Thunderbird, a snow covered 1958 Edsel Pacer and a few more of the abandoned orphanage at the Old Soldiers and Sailor's Home site in Normal, Illinois.
“The Secret Weapon” • Best of 2013
The “Rest of The Best” (in no particular order)
Kurt Baker - ‘Brand New Beat’
Charlie Watts Riots - ‘A Break In The Weather’
Jetty Boys - ‘Let ‘Er Rip’
Various Artists - ‘Starry Eyed-The Records Tribute’
The JAC - ‘Record Store’
The Real Impossibles - ‘It's About Time 1983-1988’
Greg Pope - Pop Motion Animation
Crocodiles - ‘Crimes Of Passion’
Hot Nun - ‘Hot Nun’
The Launderettes - ‘Getaway’
The Yum Yums - ‘Play Good Music’
Neko Case - ‘The Worse Things Get, the Harder I Fight, the Harder I Fight, the More I Love You’
Willie Nile - ‘American Ride’
Mark Lindsay - ‘Life Out Loud’
Lisa Mychols - ‘Above, Beyond & In Between’
Bye Bye Blackbirds - ‘We Need The Rain’
American Professionals - ‘We Make It Our Business’
Shake Some Action - ‘Full Fathom Five’
Gary Ritchie - ‘Drake Near The Alley’
Eureka Machines - ‘Remain In Hope’
Adam Daniel - ‘Pop, Baby’
Wyldlife - ‘The Time Has Come to Rock & Roll’
Imperial State Electric - ‘Reptile Brain Music’
Yes, it’s sort of a ‘shrapnel-like’ smorgasbord of thoughts and images here this week, but it's a brand new year and I have yet to adjust, so deal with it.
I wish all of you, and yours a year full of good health, happiness, hopes and dreams that become a reality. May you all find that “Peace Within’ in whatever can you can, and hang on to it.