Monday, December 28, 2015

A year of change ~ my column from Sunday's paper

Each year during the holidays, I find myself seeking solitude in the old barn on the back of our property. It’s away from jangling phones and the tether of Internet connectivity. The hayloft is quiet and through the years, I’ve found it’s a good vantage point for viewing the past year. I’ve always wondered if I could get a glimpse of next year from the roof, but I haven’t tried that yet. I’ve found that it’s helpful spending quality time thinking about where I’ve been and where I’d like to go.

This was a year of change for both Jilda and me. I started a job at the end of last year, but I really didn’t get cranking until January of this year. Many people asked why I came out of retirement to go back to work. All I could say was that I’d caught up on my honey-do list and wearing my pajamas until lunch wasn’t as fulfilling as I’d imagined it would be. Working part-time helping people over 50 get back to work turned out to be enjoyable.

This has been a year of change for Jilda, too. As I’ve written before, she’d been taking monthly infusion treatments to strengthen a faulty immune system, but she was one of the few people that experienced severe side effects from the chemicals being pumped into her arm each month. The side effects lasted anywhere from a few days to a few weeks each month. Her quality of life index plummeted.

After consulting with a specialist, she (we) decided to take a vacation from treatments earlier this year. What’s interesting is even though she stopped treatments in February, the side effects continued until well into summer. They weren’t always as brutal, but they were always there.

And then something weird happened. She walked out on the deck in July with our great nephew Jordan to go for a walk and the vibrations of their steps angered a swarm of red wasps who’d somehow built a nest behind the cover of an outdoor power outlet. In a matter of seconds, she was stung almost a dozen times. That was a bad thing. But after the swelling went down, she has not had one episode of aseptic meningitis since. It’s true what they say, “Fun ain’t cheap.” She quipped, “If I’d realized that a few wasp stings would have stopped the meningitis, I would have kicked a nest back in February.”

Also during the summer, a thunderstorm stomped through and blew a tree down through the middle of my truck. I loved that truck but had resigned myself to finding something newer. As it turns out, I found another identical truck with better tires and fewer miles on it. I love America.

As with most years, we’ve lost dear friends but we’ve also made new friends. It’s the ebb and flow of life.

The new year turns another page in my life. On Jan. 15, I turn 65. On Jan. 1, I’ll use my Medicare card when I see a doctor. It’s hard imagining how this happened so quickly.

During the winter when I hear people whining about cold weather and saying, “I wish summer would hurry up and get here.” I want to shake them. Take it from me — never wish a second of your life away because it gets away much too soon on its own.

I hope 2016 is a remarkable year for you all.

Jilda and me 1980


  1. First-your picture kills me:) Jilda looks like she just stepped off a Hollywood set-she is gorgeous! Your hair and mustache could have its own series:)-chuckle, chuckle. This year has been average for me-nothing major one way or the other-not sure if that is good or bad but I will think of it as good. My hubby did take monthly infusions for his rheumatoid arthritis but now he gives himself weekly injections with orencia. He is really tired for the first 3 days but then he is better. If he didn't have it he would be in a wheelchair. I have read something about bee stings and curing people or helping their immunity. I don't know enough-glad it had a positive effect even though it was a nasty way to get better

  2. Not quite a Tom Selleck moustache but pretty close. His was tapered in the corners. Pretty cute chick off from a movie set.
    It sounds like you had some change for the better in 2015. I hope 2016 is even better.

  3. I think it is good to reflect on the year and where you are going... it is good to have a path of some sorts... remembering always to be flexible (something I have had to learn overtime)... As for wishing my life away, I don't I see how fast it goes, I just wish Winter didn't last as long as it does here xox

  4. Do the doctors know about the wasp sting? Sounds like a miracle cure.

    I don't know if that picture makes me think more Groucho, or Welcome back Cotter.

    Jilda looks as cute today as in 1980!

    1. She told her doc about the stings but I guess he thought it was a coincidence because he seemed uninterested.
      As far as the look, I've been called worse :)

  5. Anonymous8:09 PM

    It very well may have been the wasp stings--Mother Nature writes some strange prescriptions. Happy New Year to the handsome couple!!

  6. It is interesting about the wasp stings. My uncle was having a problem with arthritis even though he was quite young. On top of that many of us in the family do not develop an immunity to the mumps. He was one of us. His doctor recommended that he keep bees and let them sting him to combat the arthritis. It worked well. A bonus was that he never had the mumps again either.

  7. Ok, first I named everyone listed in the comments except Tom S., and that was the one I was looking for. That Jilda is a beautiful lady then and now, me 'n you are just lucky! ;-) Amazing about the sings, I read somewhere there is a therapy for arthritis using bee stings. Anyway, this is a good read, a very good column.
    I like the barn loft idea!

  8. Amazing about the STINGS. I always proof AFTER I publish! LOL

  9. Glad your year is ending well. I believe in miracles, they do happen. Happy New Year !

  10. I think everyone might benefit from having a hayloft in their lives!

  11. If you Google bee venom therapy you'll get lots of info on its uses to treat auto immune disorders. I also just listened to a podcast of a woman who was "miraculously" cured after being accidentally stung by hundreds of bees. So much so that she now keeps bees in her backyard to sting her when she begins to feel ill again. Now, of course, most doctors say it is just coincidence (I'm sure because big Pharma can't make money off it doesn't help either), but there sure seems to be something to it. Whatever the reason, so grateful for Jilda's improved health and your new job!


Please consider sharing

Email Signup Form

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required