Please read this...wrapping up some loose ends...and other stuff...

So, here we are...a new year...a fresh start...

...this week, we're going to wrap up a few things, and engage in some meanderings...a little bit of this...and a little bit of that...

...hope everyone had a nice Christmas holiday...ours took a bit of an interesting turn, but that's another story...

...we did manage to keep a couple of  Christmas traditions alive...

...one of those traditions involves paying a visit to the Trail of Tears State Forest on Christmas Eve. I'm not sure why this tradition got started...sometimes, such things can't be explained...

...anyway, yours truly headed out to the woods on a cold and cloudy Christmas Eve. It really wasn't much of a surprise that there was only one person at the state forest on the afternoon before Christmas. I hadn't been in the woods for very long when frozen precipitation started to fall from the sky...

...after a visit to the woods, yours truly headed back home...and kept another Christmas Eve tradition alive...

...for many years (don't remember exactly how long), we've cooked something on the grill, outside, on Christmas Eve...no matter what the weather might be. One year, I cooked in a downpour of sleet. Another year, the temperature was about 10 degrees, and we had about a half a foot of snow on the ground. The Other Half likes to say that was the year when I tried to burn down our front porch. Christmas Eve 2017 was cold and windy. Very windy. Made for some fun cooking...but I think the food tastes better if it's been cooked over a charcoal fire, outside, in the cold, and wind...

...just in case you were wondering, and we know you were...yours truly made a final visit for 2017 to the Lincoln Memorial Picnic Grounds in Jonesboro...on Thursday afternoon, Dec. 28. Last week's visit ended a journey which began in January 2017. The day was quiet. And cold. Not many creatures were stirring. Didn't even see a mouse. Was a bit surprised to find the smoldering remains of a fire in a fireplace at the shelter at the picnic grounds.

...speaking of wondering about things...wonder if I could teach our cats how to do the laundry...

...a fellow traveler on the Journey Through Life, who also happens to be a young coworker at The Paragraph Factory, shared that she had received one of those high tech gadgets which allows one to start one's car without actually going out to the car...

...such a tool is especially nice when the temperature is about 2 degrees outdoors, but that never happens around here...does it? Yours truly suggested that it would very nice if my coworker would go outside and start my car, so it also would be toasty warm. She suggested, with a smile, that such a scenario was not likely...

...I've also decided that I need to have a "smart" house, as in "smart" technology. That way, when I got home on a December evening, there would be some lights on. I don't like going home and being greeted by darkness. Some might suggest that I could just leave a light on...hmmmm...

...finally (whew), a few musings about one of the last books I read during 2017...

...the book, titled "Endurance: A Year in Space, A Lifetime of Discovery," is a memoir written by astronaut Scott Kelly. Kelly has served as a space shuttle commander. He also served as commander of the International Space Station. Kelly spent a year on the space station. "Endurance" is a great book. You can check it out at Stinson Memorial Library in Anna.

...for whatever it's worth, yours truly, like many young folks back in the day, dreamed about being an astronaut. Encouraged by a grade school friend, I even wrote a letter to one of America's original astronauts, and he responded to the letter. Sadly, that wonderful memento vanished in one of many family moves...

...yours truly also applied for a "Journalist in Space" program. The program was designed to give a journalist an opportunity to fly on the space shuttle. At the time, it seemed like a fantasy, 'cause I was pretty sure that a "real" journalist, somebody like Walter Cronkite, would have a better chance at flying on the space shuttle than the editor of a weekly newspaper in Southern Illinois...still, it was nice to dream...

...reflecting on his year in space, Kelly offered some thoughts in his book which seemed worth sharing...

..."I've learned to better compartmentalize, which doesn't mean forgetting about feelings but instead means focusing on the things I can control and ignoring what I can't"...

..."I've learned that grass smells great and wind feels amazing and rain is a miracle"... 

..."I've also learned that our planet is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen and that we're lucky to have it"...

...that's enough for this week...have a great 2018...

The Gazette-Democrat

112 Lafayette St.
Anna, Illinois 62906
Office Number: (618) 833-2158
Email: news@annanews.com

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