|By: Paul S. Cilwa
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|2017 was a year filled with endings and beginnings.
As it was for pretty much everyone, 2017 was a helluva year. We had a wedding but also multiple funerals; moved out of two places and into a new one. So let's get started, shall we?
As you might recall, Keith and I made a trip to Key West in 2016. I certainly never expected to go again in this lifetime. But one of my daughters, Karen, got married there this January and of course Keith and I attended.
About the time Karen and Rob got married, another daughter, Jenny, decided to buy rental properties in Key West. She had also decided to move there permanently, requiring her boat, garaged in Arizona, to be transported to the Sunshine State. My son, John, and I volunteered to take on that task. And so, I wound up visiting Key West in February, too, in addition to being able to spend some quality time with my son on a cross-country adventure!
Although Jenny wanted to move to Key West permanently, she didn't want her babies to grow up not knowing their grandfather. So she paid to have Keith and I fly down to spend a week, and possibly look at property to buy so we could live there, too.
It was while looking at a houseboat we had thought we might buy, I fell into a hatchway the real estate agent had uncovered to "show how big the hold is" but neglected to actually point out. The fall broke two bones in my left leg, throwing a major monkey wrench into travel plans, to say the least. Keith flew back home on schedule, but I couldn't be moved and had to spend an extra week or so on Jenny's porch.
Needless to say, the idea of living in a houseboat had lost its charm.
In April, a few days after flying home from Florida, I turned 66. The part of the family still in Arizona came over to help me celebrate. I could barely stand and couldn't walk unaided at this point, but I had broken my leg in two places and was still alive, so that was something!
At the end of the month, Keith and I made a visit to Shiprock, and Keith's family. When we go there, we usually pitch a tent outside their mobile home and that's what we did this time. However, with my leg the way it was, I had to spend most of the visit lying down in the tent.
Near the end of May, we got sad news when we learned that a cousin of my first grandchild's, Zach, on his father's side, had passed away, unexpectedly, in New Jersey. His Aunt Dawn, the cousin's mother, lives here in Arizona but everyone else was already on the East Coast. So I offered to accompany her to New Jersey so she wouldn't have to fly there alone in her grief.
Sad as the visit was, Zach's dad's family lives in Toms River, New Jersey and, as it happens, I have a couple of friends who live there as well: Steve, a Facebook friend, and Brian, an old Navy buddy with whom I've never lost contact.
And then, as soon as I got back, Zach, graduated from high school. I still can't figure out where the time has gone.
We began the month of June by celebrating Keith's 33rd birthday (making him exactly half my age).
Then we set out on our first camping trip since I broke my leg (not counting our visit to Shiprock in April). It was beautiful and restful, but of course I was still recovering and couldn't do the usual hiking I would otherwise have done.
At the end of the month, Jenny again flew me out to visit the grandbabies while Keith happily remained behind to spend an uninterrupted week of gaming.
Keith and I had been engaged for over a year and had intended to get married on the equinox, August 21st. But we still didn't know where. So we decided to head out toward Flagstaff, a spot located more or less between Phoenix and Shiprock, to find a location; we settled on Sunset Crater National Monument.
However, we had to change the date to August 19th, to accommodate guests who couldn't make it on a Monday. But Keith and I got married!
Our family has an inordinate number of birthdays that happen to fall in September; so we have traditionally held a single September Birthdays party for them all. That works for adults; but of course 3-year-olds (such as my granddaughter, Gianna), need to have a party of their own.
By the way, it was in September that I finally began to hike again. It took a long time for me to recover from the broken leg; but if I hadn't done a lot of hiking before I broke it, it would have shattered into a dozen pieces and I probably would never have recovered. So, there's that!
In October, we got the sad news that Keith's brother, Ernie, had passed away. Keith had already lost his eldest brother some years back, so this was doubly sad. Keith and I , along with Keith's twin Chris and Chris' husband, Alex, drove up to Shiprock to attend the funeral.
We also had to move. Our landlords and friends, Barbara and Peter, had decided they wanted to sell the condo Keith and I had been renting from them; so we had to move out. We moved, on a temporary basis only, in with my ex-husband and current friend, Michael, renting a room in the house he, himself, rents. However, Michael had been notified by his landlord, that he had to move out by the end of December! So our housing woes were not over.
November was a sad month for us, as we lost two more members of the family. First, Jenny's brother-in-law, and my friend, Joseph Rizzo, passed away. Then, just before Thanksgiving, Keith's dad passed away after a lengthy illness, only a month after his second son.
So, with little time left, we finally found an apartment we liked, and could afford, and for which we qualified. But here's the kicker: Keith and I will be moving in with my ex-husband, Michael. Yes, we'll be sharing a three-bedroom apartment. I think it's hilarious, but I'm also grateful that we have remained such good friends all these years. I'm also grateful that Keith and Michael get along so well.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to All!
I sincerely hope that you, dear reader, had a less traumatic year than we did; and, regardless, that you came through it strong and at peace. Next year may be even more interesting! So hang on! Politically, if in no other way, next year promises to be a bumpy ride!