Landmarks and Land Mines

It is a bit of a cliche to say it perhaps, but this year has roared past at a clip that nearly baffles the imagination. As we get into the cooler months (even here in the Lone Star state, believe it or not), I stop to reflect on the many anniversaries that the end of the year brings.

Six of my closest friends celebrate birthdays between the beginning of September and the end of the year. One of them is a man I have known for about 27 years—I have seen him change from a goofy boy to a confident and poised person in that time. Another dear friend, Suzanne, recently pointed out that Halloween was our 18th anniversary—eighteen years since I met this cool, teenaged lesbian at a costume party and found a friend for life. Tempis fugit, baby!

The end of December will make it a year since I started with Massage Envy in Frisco, Texas. It was weird at first, but it has brought me a great deal of success, professionally and personally, and I have grown in my chosen career field.

Two years ago, on Halloween, I started my life as a noder, after reading this site for several years. Two nodermeets, 125 (or so) posted writeups, a few fights, four quests (five?), chances to help out numerous newbies, a couple chances to help out some of the old-timers (sometimes with writing, sometimes in other ways), and a heck of a lot of hard and rewarding work—it has been a great ride so far. Here is to the next two years!

A more somber landmark—two years ago in September, my mother's 76-year earth walk came to an end in her tidy little home in rural Texas. Her life long addiction to cigarettes, in addition to a few less-voluntary abuses, led her to a long, expensive stay in the hospital. She finally got her wish and left the medical centre in Abilene, returning to her cozy house in the little town of Early, where I held her hand and talked to her while she tried to breathe comfortably. A day later, I got the call, awakening me from uneasy dreams at four in the morning. Sometimes I miss her still.

Three years ago, in October, my darling friend DL was diagnosed with breast cancer. Surgery, chemotherapy and radiation treatment—it was a hard ride. We cheered her on, held her hands, I gave her massages and we did all we could to keep her spirits up. This year, cancer-free, she participated in the local 60-mile, three day Walk for the Cure. The symbolism is hard to resist ... she's gone a long way!

Ten years ago, November second, two days after his 91st birthday, my father shuffled off this mortal coil. We knew he could hardly live forever, but it somehow always seemed like he would. At that age, things have a way of shutting down, and once they started, it was a cascading effect. Life without him was hard at first, and sometimes I still see his face in my mirror.

They call 25 years the silver anniversary. Third of December, 1981, a couple of high school kids snuck out to see An American Werewolf in London. Fourth of December she got grounded for nine weeks for that! A quarter of a century has brought us some good times and some bad ones. I can't afford to buy her silver, but I know (for a fact) that's she'd rather have a nice dinner and a Sluggy Freelance book anyway! Maybe we'll rent An American Werewolf in London.