And so it happens, another year draws to a close …

There's a feeling I get when I look to the west
And my spirit is crying for leaving…

Perhaps it is not a typical opening to an end of year post but as I took this photo of the western sky with the setting sun putting Colorado’s Rockies in sharp relief I couldn’t help but think of those lines from perhaps Led Zeppelins’ most famous song, Stairway to Heaven. Then again many, many, years ago among the gifts left for me under the Christmas tree I could always count on there being a vinyl LP by that group. As I recall, the card was always signed by my daughter, Lisa. Then again, I could be mistaken but all the same, just looking to the west at this time of year as the lights began turning on, it was difficult separating true beauty from the lyrics of that long ago song.

Margo and I have come through the year with much that could have put a damper on our spirits. Even now, Margo’s grandson Aiden is hospitalized in Minnesota undergoing what we hope will be a life altering surgery on his back and knees. He will be in the hospital in MN for 6 weeks participating in Gillette's incredible PT program designed to teach his body to move more effectively. You may recall from previous posts of how young Aiden suffers from CP (Cerebral Palsy); Aiden has the spastic form impacting his mobility so we are all praying that relief is imminent event as the post-operative physical therapy will be the beginning of a very long journey for him.

No matter how many times my office gets a dusting,
there are reminders of where I have been and who I have met.

If I was back in Sydney then it would be summer time and news from the cricket grounds would be focused on that mightiest of competitions – The Ashes – pitching Australia against England and from what I have read of that first test at the Gabba, the English are in a bad way. Yes there was a bit of a wobble as I wrote this post but it all was sorted out and the Aussies won, yet again. However, what struck me as I looked around my office is not the picture of Sydney that colleague Brad Poole took during a business trip back to Sydney or the custom painted helmets from our car and motorcycle days or even the numerous signed caps of racers – yes we have Wil Power’s signature on his cap showing #1 during the only year he was able to wear that number – but rather that cap of the Sea Eagles.

The mighty Manly National Rugby League team that I have followed from my youth! I have even taken Margo to watch a game and she was more than a little impressed with what transpired. It seems only natural to be reminiscing about my time in Sydney as here in Colorado that contrast couldn’t be greater. This in itself captures the journey Margo and I have been on practically all of our lives. Margo braved the European winter that descended on her hometown of Warsaw, Poland, at this time of year even as the Buckles headed to the beach. So perhaps I can be forgiven at this time of year for dwelling on the topic of Sydney, cricket and those times spent in and around beaches up and down the coast of New South Wales.

When old met new; blue-rinse “Sophia”
alongside orange “Li’l Pumpkin.”

But today I am back in Windsor, Colorado and even as the joy of Christmas is beginning to take on tangible form, it’s hard to forget our loss. Yes, above, is a rare photo indeed capturing the moment we drove our re-licensed (and newly acquired) SUV home. It’s rare in the sense it happened to be one of the few times that 2008 Infiniti EX35 was parked next to our 2019 ragtop convertible Range Rover Evoque. We purchased the Infiniti from our daughter Anna and then, only a matter of a few weeks later, a reckless driver totaled our Evoque. Today, the Infiniti is our go-to car for everything from shopping excursions to runs into the city of Denver and much more.

If these Christmas holidays are about remembering all that happened in 2021 then this is one event we sure wish we never experienced. On the one hand it was possibly the only time we felt down about our situation and yet, on the other hand we realized how fortunate we were. And to think, with the current excessive valuations of used cars, our insurance not only paid out the lease but sent us a very nice check covering the new improved market valuation. For once, something very bad turned out to be Christmas coming early. 

With as much talk as there is about Electric Vehicels (EV),
they will remain a hard sell with gas prices this low (US Gallons).

We will be replacing the Range Rover with a new Jaguar SUV. It was never the plan but as you all know by now, Margo and I are definitely car enthusiasts. We just heard that our Jaguar F Pace SVR will be built on February 11 and we will be able to take it home May 11 – it’s like the child we never had. Yes, it will have a birth date and yes, it will be celebrated. As for the Corvette C8 Z06 we have had on order now for almost a year our likelihood of knowing more about when it will be built isn’t going to happen before the end of 2023 and maybe even 2024 or later.

With the purchase of two Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles together with the return of our hybrid BMW next year when its lease ends, we continue to take questions as to why we would continue to buy ICE vehicles. Our response has been rather consistent if not simple: We enjoy the fully immersive engagement with the car that remains missing from today’s batch of EVs. As avid a reader that I am and with the many articles that have been published on the topic we simply don’t want that much control taken away from us whenever we get behind the wheel. This may change, but for now and at our age, there is a sense we will never need to take on that particular adventure.  

Celebrations sometimes call for a big red and a Super Tuscan
can be counted on to do just that!

Christmas time without the thought of a good meal is as foreign to us as it is an opportunity to make sure we catch up with friends and family. For Margo and me, a time with our daughter Anna’s family has now been pushed back to mid-January given the current circumstances surrounding young Aiden. We managed to sit down over turkey this past Thanksgiving but the big day where presents are involved is still a ways off.

On the other hand, getting together with friends has been ongoing throughout the year. But before we develop that story line any further, we first must cover some updates we have been doing to our home. The supply chain issues that are so often referenced in the press have hit home and it’s not been pleasant. We finally settled on the right furnishings for our master bedroom but having sold our then current bedroom setting, we have months to wait.

If I was to sum up what happened in the weeks since our bed was sold it would be fair to say that over the past two weeks we could be accused of simply sleeping around. First in the master bedroom (too hard to get up off the floor), then the downstairs guest bedroom (simply too hard a mattress), then the primary guest bedroom (much better) and then a two night stay in a hotel while we were out on business (the goldilocks moment)!

A tasty meal that is more a Sydney celebration
than you would expect in Colorado.

The holiday season is always an opportunity to over indulge. An extra glass of wine here and a very large lobster there! What we have found through the years is that time stands still for Margo and me. While we remember times from our respective pasts these days there has been more than enough time that has passed to swing the needle a little further towards the two of us. Yes in times past there was much to celebrate but today, we find so much more to celebrate that is uniquely of our own making.

Who could have known that we would have spent a quarter of our lives living in Colorado? Who would have guessed that we have spent so much time travelling inside America? We have certainly squeezed in numerous “biz-cations” that have taken us overseas but as we looked back through the years, the number of miles we have accumulated while seated behind the windscreen of our cars are simply too many to recall. And yet, it has been our love of travelling by car that has given us cause to celebrate even if there were moments we would rather forget.

All rugged up to step outside …

While there is no intent to offend anyone, living in Colorado during the winter months is more than enough reason to rug up before stepping outside. Here in Northern Colorado there is a legitimate reason as to why a coat is an essential piece of our wardrobes and to walk along the street and seeing the Christmas lights calls for something more stylish than a simple jean jacket. And yes, that is Margo behind the hood, smiling, as she enjoys the simple walks we take even if it is just to a neighbor’s house or to the car parked street-side.

However, as we were looking through images taken in past years, we came across a photo of Margo during her university years in Warsaw. With just a touch of Audrey Hepburn, Margo is the epitome of what many of us Australians and indeed Americans too considered the European chic look of the late 1960s. Little did she know where her life would take her and it so happened that it took her here, to Windsor, Colorado!

You want to argue that point with me?

It has been the subject of much of what we have talked about this month. Celebrations take many forms and there are many good reasons to celebrate that during the months preceding December may simply slip our minds. For many, simply surviving 2021 was cause célèbre – yes, while all around us there was reason enough to be down on it all and yet, simply turning on our house lights of an evening and letting the illumination it creates, melding with the lights of our neighbors, reinforces the simple truth that we are not alone.

Perhaps this is the real reason we celebrate the way we do at this time of year. Perhaps it is the time where we walk up and down our street, chatting with our neighbors, sharing stories in entrance doorways and waving to them as they pass by that affords us the opportunity to take a deep breath and to acknowledge that well, yes, we have made it through yet one more trip around the sun.

And as the sun settles further behind the mountains to the west and the decorative lights gain in intensity then for Margo and me, it isn’t so much a case of our spirit crying to leave as it is simply a time to stand still for just a moment or two to take in all that this time of year represents. After all there is time aplenty before we head out to enjoy the sights our hometown of Windsor provides us year round.  


Comments

BILL RAMSEY said…
A Prayer for Margo's grandson Aiden - and wish him well for recovery and help with CP. A favorite charity of mine here in Adelaide. I was fortunate in working at Sydney University with a "brilliant" man who had CP and I learned much from him and he was a superb programmer/analyst in the early days of IT in administration at Sydney University. Thanks for posting the info about Aiden.

Cheers and all the best for Christmas and New Year
BILL
Richard said…
Many thanks for this Bill; good to hear from you and we got your Christmas email as well describing the Jane Watson Ramsey PhD Scholarship in Multiple Myeloma Research.
- R
Unknown said…
Richard, I am a few days behind on mail and just now finished reading your post. Please keep us up to date when you can regarding young Aiden's progress in MN. Also, sometime perhaps before or shortly after end of year, we could enjoy a virtual Happy Hour!
Jim Miller

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