And suddenly it's December, the last month of the year. In 31 all-too-short days, 2011 will draw to a close, the calendar page will turn, and we will be teetering on the brink of a new year, 2012.
I remember well being in my teens and wondering if I would still be alive at the turn of the century. After all, I would be the advanced age of fifty-eight when that happened. Yet, here I am, happily chugging along toward seventy, and doing quite well, thank you very much. My teen-aged self would undoubtedly be quite surprised.
Returned yesterday afternoon from a six-day trip to Pennsylvania, to reconnect with family and friends there: 2 days with my Aunt Jean in Steelton for "extreme baking" (more about this later), along with my cousin, Cheryl, and including a trip to Schmidts' butchershop for their amazing German sausage; an afternoon, evening, and overnight with my oldest friend, Diane, and her husband, Bob, in Hummelstown. (She is actually two years my junior but I have known her since she was born...guess I should say we share my longest friendship.) Then it was off to York, my birthplace and home for most of my first thirty-eight years, for a whirlwind of base-touching: lunch with Lyn, whom I met about 38 years ago when we were both in nursing at Memorial Hospital; dinner and the evening with Becky and Bob, Becky being my friend since we met in eighth grade at Central High School; and on Tuesday, a long lunch with my cousin, Harry, and his dear wife, Julie. (Pant, pant, pant- deep breath.)
Add in a quick early-evening jaunt to Mack's ice cream in Hellam, seeing there a huge rainbow when the setting sun shone through briefly in the midst of a heavy downpour, a brief stop at BAM (Books-a-Million's new logo), and the return to my motel room was most welcome. Early to bed, early to rise, in order to beat the Route 30 traffic out of York, 'round the squares in Abbottstown, New Oxford, and Gettysburg (all beautifully dressed in their holiday finery), to pick up I-81 in Chambersburg. Then south, south, south, and a bit west through Maryland, the tip of West Virginia, and Virginia. (Actually saw gas for $2.99 at one place south of Winchester! Too bad I had already gassed up earlier.)
As I traveled south, through the winter-barren but still-beautiful countryside of Virginia and North Carolina, my heart was filled to overflowing with the glory of the world around me, with my ability to travel on my own, with the wonders of books-on-CD, with the joy of simple things like stopping for coffee and watching the changing clouds and seeing snow on the distant mountaintops.
And now I am safely home, where I reveled in my own bed last night (nothing else feels quite like one's own bed, does it?) and slept late this morning. Much, much, much to do today as I plunge into December with all it holds- but I am pausing to take a deep breath and send it out to all of you with my wishes for a glorious new day, new month, waning old year. Walk softly, slowly, gently on this December 1st...hold gratitude in your heart...and know you are loved. love, linda