The blanket originally came from my Aunt Ginger, who many years ago had earmarked it for Goodwill. Heck no! The blanket then had many years of service left and the steady use I have put it to for probably two decades now attests to its longevity.
The blanket is as good a symbol as any for my take on my year just ended. Despite our brutal early December schedule, I finished 2014 feeling satisfied and centered. Worn? Yes. Fatigued? Absolutely. But like that old green blanket, I carry on.
2014 held a variety of experiences, many of them good, many far better than good. We had the joy of having Ramona, my daughter-in-law Alise, and my son Ben come to Ohio in late spring and spend a week with us. The joy of having them here was great, the pure unadulterated love of a toddler indescribable. Along with my good friends and colleagues, I helped celebrate the eleventh anniversary of our monthly free legal clinic in October, serving our 2000th client that very night. I saw Warren and the Symphony reach new heights and gain national attention for groundbreaking community outreach programs. I spent time with good friends near and dear to my heart, either in person or through correspondence.
And I read hundreds of books, always a sign of a superb year.
Some of 2014 had to be endured. Friends and colleagues died. There is the steady advance of dementia in my mother and my Aunt Ginger. My own health was all over the board in 2014, before it and I finally stabilized. Last night, I finished my tenth round of oral chemotherapy, swallowing the capsule three hours before 2014 ended. This treatment has stayed the advance of my bone marrow cancer, although it has extracted its own price for that stay. For now, it is a toll I am willing to pay, although I know the toll will get steeper with time.
Various authors portray the turning of year in less than glowing terms. Scrooge, before his transformation, characterized this time of year as Nathaniel Hawthorne, in his short story "The Sister Years," portrayed the Old Year as a "weary, bedraggled, world-worn" woman who "heaved a heavy sigh" as she waited for her younger sister, the New Year, to arrive.
I don't share those outlooks, despite my having many wearisome hours and days in any given week. (In fairness to Scrooge, he didn't feel that way either after his ghostly visitations.) 2015 holds promise. I head to Portland in two weeks to spend a week with Ramona, her parents, and my other son Sam, who I have not seen in two years. Warren will not be on that trip, but we are already planning to travel more in 2015. I was contracted last September to create a new OVI Court for our Municipal Court and that project is coming closer to being a reality. At Juvenile Court, where I work, we get a new judge on February 9. I am hoping the next six years hold great things for the Court and my work there. I can only dream of what this year holds for the Symphony and for Warren personally and professionally.
And there are always books—to read, to reread, to laugh over, to cry over, to reflect upon and hold close to my heart. Books are always waiting in any new year.
Yes, 2015 holds great promise, although whether those promises will be kept remains to be seen. Come this time next year, I hope to be like our old green blanket, worn a little more but still comfortable, minus the satin binding but still of good service.