The year of our Lord 2013 is on the wane. The year flashed by, rushing like hurricane winds. Only two days remain as I sit here in my chair, pondering exactly what—if anything--I’ve accomplished during this year. It seems to me that we just put up the Christmas tree and it’s already time to take it down. Wise folk tell me that time is relative to our ages; as we get older, time appears to move faster. I remember waiting several eons for Christmas to come around when I was a young child. So much has changed, but some things never do. For example, no matter the year, it will find me reading.
Last year I read 36 books, or at least that’s the number I wrote down. In my senility, I may have forgotten a few. I kept a record because I was curious to see for myself what I read in a year’s time. Some of them were really good, some mediocre, and some spectacular. I just finished reading Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch, which was an excellent book. I highly recommend it and will be returning it to the public library tomorrow if you’re interested. However, by far the best book I’ve read this year is Thirteen Moons by Charles Frazier. As a rule, I pass along my books to others to share the pleasure, but I kept Thirteen Moons. I will surely read it again. Its rich, eloquent prose keeps me returning to it again and again to reread and savor certain passages. You’ll remember Frazier as the author of Cold Mountain, which I also like immensely. The man has a way with words, to say the least. I’ve read all his books, but
Thirteen Moons is exceptional. If you fancy yourself a reader and haven’t read it yet, put it on your list for 2014 and let me know what you think. You won’t regret it.
This year also I returned to playing Bridge. Some kind souls in the community offered to teach me and a few others; it’s been quite an experience. I learned the basics while a student at the University of Georgia back in the late 60s. I haven’t played since then until last fall. Now count on your fingers and see how long it’s been—one of those eons I was just talking about. I’d forgotten everything. Playing Bridge is not like riding a bicycle. It disappeared completely from my head. At first I thought of quitting because the game is somewhat complicated, and my brain is old. But friends encouraged me and taught me gently, so I stayed. I’d like to report that I’m now an expert, but I hate to lie in print. I do enjoy the game though, and I enjoy the camaraderie with the other players. I’ve gotten to know quite a few people that I only knew casually before the advent of Bridge. I believe I’ll keep playing as long as they’ll let me. I did have to promise though not to spill any secrets in this column. What happens at Bridge parties stays there.
The most important accomplishment of my year was time spent with my family members. I don’t spend as much time as I’d like with Josh because Virginia is so far away. Thank goodness for telephones. Calvin, my eldest son, his wife Julie, and our younger grandchildren live in Atlanta. The grandchildren are growing up so fast, and we don’t see them quite as much as we’d like. Trey (11) is almost as tall as Larry now. Last week I heard Jakey (9) reading a bedtime story to his little brother Will (5). It seems like just yesterday that Jakey couldn’t read and needed someone to read to him. And Trey’s turned into an avid reader, which delights me.
2013 has been good to us. I pray that 2014 brings good luck, good cheer, and good health to us and to all of you.
Be sure to eat greens and black eyed peas on New Year’s Day to ensure your luck. Cook a smidgen of hog jowl with the peas and greens. Superstition is serious business here in the South, so don’t ignore it. And whatever you do, DO NOT wash clothes on New Year’s Day.