Thursday, December 21, 2017

Goodbye to all that.

Unless something horribly unforeseen happens, today is my last day in the office in 2017. On Saturday, I leave for Saltillo, Mexico, my annual sojourn to visit the aging Teresa, my surrogate mother and Gulliermo Sisto, who lives just down the block from Teresa, and who was my best friend when I played baseball in the Mexican League so many moons ago.

Since Hector died over winter break three years ago, I have, to my wife's displeasure, made it my practice to travel south to visit the family I never had.

To be sure, I have a brother in Chicago and a sister-in-law, and a niece and a nephew whom I love, and various Philadelphia cousins who have spread over the eastern seaboard, but Teresa and Sisto are two pillars of my life. Further, I can visit my blood-relatives anytime, but Mexican brethren are pushing 90 now--I knew them 43 seasons ago, and I like to spend some concentrated hours with them.

Of course my breathtakingly level-headed wife protests these trips, protests the long drives through the lonely desert from Monterrey to Saltillo, and protests the long hours Sisto and I sit on Teresa's front porch, playing toss the coin in the baseball cap, which from our days playing ball together we can play for five or seven hours at a clip.

Nevertheless, with Beverly Kenney playing on my iPod, blaring on repeating her surpassing single "Tampico," we make our slow sojourn south, to be stupid for some days and do nothing but live, and love, and most of all laugh.

We laugh at unheard jokes, or memories that are ghosts from long ago, or a shuffle of the foot, or a raised eye-brow, or the touch on a shoulder. We laugh the laugh of 43-years of togetherness, that only those who are spiritually blood-brothers and sister can share.

So, this is all to say, I will be writing, if at all, only sporadically while I am away, looking to resume my meanderings when I cease my meanderings south, sometime around the first, or if I persist, the second week in January.

This has been annus horribilis of sorts--with politics, with Trumpism, with the crushing of the middle-class and poor by the dominant and ascendent plutocratic class. On the other hand, it's been, also an annus mirabilis, too. I've had a good career run, I've had my health, and I've written in this space something approaching one-hundred-thousand words.

Once again, thank you for reading. And happy holidays to you. May you enjoy them with peace, love and the aforementioned laughter. 

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