Last night was our New Year's Eve party. In spite of the very noticeable absence of Jeff, that Filthiest of Pikers, and his family, the mood was festive and cheerful. Unlike previous New Year's parties, we did not trash the house at midnight. Next year we'll have to plan for a triple-trashing to make up for that. It will be strange not to be finding confetti lurking in couch cushions and desk drawers in July.
Maureen and I spent a good bit of time talking about writing; she has a collection of poetry she'd like to see in book form, as well as some journals she has. I asked her if she was going to try to find a publisher, and she rolled her eyes and curled her lip, eloquently saying with the gesture, "Hell, no." I was thrilled to find that she was just as not-thrilled as I about the whole "real" publishing venue, the deals, the editing, the marketing. I told her about Lulu Press, and when she heard the words "no money up front" she was quite interested. She's got a large family, and being able to hand on to them her literary treasures will mean a lot to them as well as to Maureen. Plus, there's the added benefit that her tribe of children wouldn't need to fight over them.
Mary showed up wearing a becoming red wig. "What is this?" I asked her scathingly when she'd taken off her hat. "Where's my wig?" Mary then swiped the wig off her head with a flourish to reveal a head of soft silver fuzz. "Look at you!" I cried. "You're beautiful!" And I meant it. She looks good nearly bald. It was so good to see her again. She's been pretty much in isolation while undergoing chemotherapy because of the immune system effects. How strange fate is! We've been kind of keeping away from people because of the scarcity of flu vaccine; as a result, this household is fair-to-middlin' contagion-free, making it possible for Mary to enjoy a night out with friends.
2004 was a rough year on our extended "family." Our dear friend Bill died this past summer, Mary was diagnosed with breast cancer, John suffered two herniated discs and can hardly walk, Jeff was out of the country too much. I don't think we'll miss 2004 too much, and with the grace of God, 2005 will find us stronger and more appreciative of each day that we live.
January 1st, 2005: Thank you, God, for another day of life. Amen.