Beth's painting this year is of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston. We drive past the building all the time. We attended a Spoleto event there several years back. Its soaring steeple is one of many in Charleston. The view of all the church spires from the harbor gave Charleston its name, The Holy City.
"On Wednesday, the church was a crime scene -- the street outside aglow with the flashing red lights of police cars and echoing with the screech of sirens. Nine people had been killed there, including the church's pastor, the Rev. Clementa Pinckney."
-- The Washington Post, June 18th
An appalling, disgusting event. It casts a pall over this year's holidays. As it should. But, even as we write this, in December, another violent event is being analyzed on the west coast, in San Bernardino. Each week, it seems that a new form of brutality shocks us. The term "active shooter" has entered our vocabulary.
Life appears to be even more uncertain. Just weeks ago, this hit home on a personal level. Mike's cousin Phil died in a helicopter crash. Someone so much larger than life leaves a very large space. In our hearts. In our minds. In the world. Earlier this year, in May, Mike's very good friend, David, whom he'd known all his life, died after a decade struggle with Parkinson's. David's artistic talents were known and celebrated by many. His humor and wisdom were known to those close to him.
Mike's aunt Elaine died recently, too. At 104, her death wasn't quite as unexpected, though she was so sharp, it still came as a surprise. What would her council be in these troubled times? She would sit with her friend or with someone she had just met. She would ask, "What is your story?"
We must hold each person close. Life can change in an instant. We must celebrate life.
Beth's mom celebrated a milestone this past year. Surrounded by friends and family, she marked her 100th birthday. Before we know it, she will be 101. Beth cooked her favorites this Thanksgiving, as we continued our yearly tradition.
This past January we celebrated our Aunt Dorothy's 100th year. More Eddys than we ever seen in one place gathered for the event. We all stayed together in a rented house in San Antonio.
Other celebrations: Leslie & Jim celebrated their golden wedding anniversary. Beautiful couple. Beautiful views of Chicago's lake front from the top floor of one of the Museum Park buildings. Speaking of Chicago -- even the Cubs celebrated an accomplishment ... winning their first playoff game in Wrigley. According to ESPN, "It only took a century. Only took until the 100th season after they moved into storied Wrigley Field, in the same year the hamburger bun was invented."
And, in Chicago there was another momentous anniversary ... besides the Grateful Dead's "Fare Thee Well" concerts. Beth and other AT&T women reunited and partied. Seems like they do this every few years?
Meanwhile, in Charleston there were a few celebrations. Beth got Mike a "Brews Cruise" reservation for his birthday. Actually, it's a bus. It's an excursion to local breweries with tours and tastings. It was a reservation for two, but Beth doesn't really like beer. Who does like beer? Baxter! So, he and Mike climbed on the bus with two other groups. One group was a bachelor party. The other was a bachelorette party. You must talk to either Baxter or Mike for the story of which wedding party was the rowdier.
For Beth's birthday, Mike got reservations in Edisto Beach. Beth has always wanted to go. It's more secluded than Charleston's beaches. Edisto has many restaurants that we hadn't tried. However, the real attraction is Botany Bay. We liked it so much that we plan to go back this winter. And, we plan to go with Pat and Ron. Ron is a professional photographer and promises to show Mike some tricks on capturing the beauty of the "Bone Yard Beach."
So much for 2015. Let's hope we have more to celebrate in 2016 and less to morn. We wish you peace and good will. Let's work on making this life and this earth what it can be. What can we make of this opportunity which is the present?
Beth & Mike