Author: Cornish, Rick

It was a very good year

Good New Year’s Eve Day from Whiskey Creek, where our annual holiday telephone line fail is in full bloom. Yes, the land-line telephone dial tone went silent Friday afternoon and, like an angry spouse who’s ‘had it up to here’ and resorts to the silent treatment, has refused to utter a sound since then. The AT&T service rep couldn’t have been more helpful, to the point of actually showing signs of real empathy, but made it crystal clear that the four and a half day wait for a pole climber was non-negotiable; we would hear from their man sometime on the thirty-first of December and not a moment sooner. “Well, can you give us an idea of when the guy will be here on Tuesday or do we just wait around all day?” I asked, knowing the answer with as much certainty as one knows that there simply is no Santa Clause. Period. “No,” she said, “I’m sorry, I can’t. We just don’t know when that will be. Now, if you’d like, I can schedule an appointment for you and that would give you a four-hour window. Let’s see here…ah…checking…checking…yes, here we are. I could schedule you for the 9th.” I thanked the service rep but declined. “We’ll just hang out all day Tuesday…maybe take shifts.” “Well,” she said, “there is another solution. You don’t really need to be at home when our man comes if he can get to your service box. You don’t have any dogs, do you?”

In truth, being without a landline phone doesn’t mean being cut off from the rest of the world like it used to. Lynn and I both have cell phones and we’re even able to check our home phone’s voice mail using them. No, really the biggest hassle during our five or six day AT&T ordeal each Christmas is that when the telephone goes dead our DSL connection gets very squirrelly, which is to say works intermittently, on and off throughout the day, more off than on and very, very slow. It’s been so bad this time around that my wife and I have actually resorted to talking to each other. Honestly, it’s been kind of nice, like running into an old friend and catching up.
This year ending today, this 2012, was good to me. It saw fit to allow me to exit my twelve years of very active involvement with the bluegrass association as board member and board chair with a minimal amount of angst. Of course I did my part to grease the skids…I gave myself a year and a half to get used to the idea while pulling off a monumental brain-dump. And, most importantly, I was able, against all odds, to recruit my first choice as a replacement. Actually, Tim was easy compared to Sue; thankfully she allowed me to structure my debt to her on a fifteen year fixed loan.

As years go, 2012 was also an important one for me because I was able to achieve a life-long goal, that of writing a novel. It took seven months to write the roughly three hundred and forty pages and when I was finished I felt a sense of accomplishment rivaled only by my success learning, more or less, to play the fiddle. That only two of the eight people who agreed to read the manuscript could even finish it; that my soul-mate of thirty years was one of the six who gave up, (“Does anything actually HAPPEN?” she asked after reading the first six chapters); and that it took me nearly all of my sixty-four years to learn that, no, my true purpose in life was NOT to write the great American novel, or even a good American novel, or even a readable American novel, did not diminish one little bit the exaltation I felt finally typing those two wonderful words, “the end”. So now I’m back to writing short stories and am happy as a clam.

2012 was also the year that we added a fourth dog to our pack. Lynn and I adopted a three and a half year old Border collie named Pen, (Lynn calls him Pen, I call him Sid and he’s equally responsive to both names.) What’s a little ironic about taking on the responsibility of a fourth dog is that, just weeks before circumstances conspired to bring Pen/Sid into our home, Lynn and I had pretty much agreed that three dogs was one too many and that after Eddy passed, we’d hold at two. Even though Ed has, hopefully a good number of years left to go, in our minds we were already edging toward becoming a two-dog family and them, whap, we were up to four. So, having the Zuniga’s call to say that their pooch needed a good home and that the Cornish’s were at the top of their list gave us, again, against all odds, the chance to see and experience and be a part of four dogs living together. A while back I read, and now I firmly believe, that with the addition of each new dog to a pack, one can see a little more clearly the true nature of our canine pals; a dog, it seems, brings out the dog in other dogs. Not that we’ll be taking on any more charges. We’ve seen all the true doggie nature any dog owner needs to see.

This past year was also a better than average one for me for a reason that you’ll probably find surprising…I know I was surprised. 2012 was made special for me by Facebook. Yes, I know how that must sound. That something as superficial and transient and faddish and trendy and lacking in any real substance could be one of a handful of things I’d feel important enough to share in a recap of the entire year is, well, superficial and transient and faddish and trendy and lacking in any real substance. And yet it’s true. Social networking…specifically this crazy Facebook thing, has enriched my life in so many ways. I’m able to know about and even share in the daily happenings of my sons and their families though they’re several hours away, my close friends are closer for the same reasons, people with whom I’d lost touch for years, even decades, are now back in my life and scores of new folks whose very existence I was unaware of a year ago I now call friends. I hadn’t seen or heard from my cousin Tommy in nearly thirty years. Six months ago we discovered one another on Facebook and struck up a friendship. Then a few months ago his wife, whom he’d just married when I last saw him, was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. Tommy is taking care of her at home in her final few months and I’m able, in a very, very small way, to offer him a little support and encouragement. I guess it’s not a complete surprise that if technology can be used to enhance business and commerce and entertainment and medicine and information sharing and scientific discovery it can be used to improve and enrich the most important thing of all…human interaction.

And probably the best part of 2012 for me, the part that made everything else even matter, was that this past year has seen my health return. Many of my friends are aware that the year before last was one of great struggle and challenge for Lynn and me. My life was pretty much put on hold while I dealt with a mysterious and debilitating illness. It kept me at home and out of contact with nearly everyone close to me and it raised some serious questions about whether I’d even have a 2012 at all. And then, suddenly, this thing that came out of nowhere, something called drug-induced lupus, was identified by my doctors, I was taken off the offending medication and within weeks I was on the mend. This past year I’ve been back to normal. Truly, of all that I have to be thankful for as we say so long to 2012, it’s that I FEEL GOOD AGAIN.

So that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Have a wonderful new year and LET’S PICK! Bakersfield here we come.
Posted:  12/31/2012

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