The year began on a sad note with the loss of my Mom, only a few months after Dad left us the previous spring. But my siblings and I chose, instead of mourning, to reflect on and feel good about the long, long, happy lives our parents had together in their seventy-one years of marriage.
And as if to show that the wheel always keeps turning, in October we welcomed a new grandson to the family. This makes five grandchildren Mrs. Animal and I have to spoil, with the oldest graduating high school in a year and a half. Grandparenting is, as they say, the revenge we get for having been parents; but I think it’s a lot more than that. Being Grandpa is one of the more satisfying things I’ve ever done, along with being a Dad; fortunately I learned about both things from the very best.
A few things about 2019 were frustrating. We spent too much of the year in the leftist’s paradise of New Jersey, although I have to admit I’m kind of fond of Raritan, where are temporary lodgings are located; if only it wasn’t in New Jersey it would be a nice little town. As a result of this, I wasn’t able to spend as much time at the gun club as I would have liked, and the trips I did get to make out there to the trap stands tell me that my shooting has slipped a little. I should have more time in 2020 to get back in that groove.
Because of that, there are probably a few high-country trout that lived to swim another day rather than ending up in my stream-side frying pan. Let’s hope that changes in 2020 as well.
Mrs. Animal have started taking advantage of our empty-nester status to check some boxes off on our travel bucket list. March saw us in Tokyo for a week; it’s odd that while I’m an unrepentant country boy with very little love for cities, there are a few big cities I have always enjoyed. Boston is one. Tokyo is another. Fortunately Mrs. Animal is competent in conversational Japanese, which makes things a great deal easier.
In July we took advantage of the east coast location and drove up north of Montreal to the little town of Ste. Agnes du Mont in Quebec, up in the Laurentides. While the fishing was disappointing, the folks were very friendly, the food and beer was great, and the country was beautiful. Mrs. Animal got to practice her high-school French. It was fun. We’d like to go back.
We have some more travel plans laid on; details will follow, so look forward to some insights and stories from some interesting places. Hint: Our travelogues will probably include discussions of food and beer.
Loyal sidekick Rat and I are planning a black-powder elk/deer hunt down in southern Colorado this year, somewhere down along the New Mexico border; after last year we decided that a change of scenery was in order, and the September black-powder season comes along with some pretty nice shirt-sleeve weather.
The current project I’m on is going to last a while. I’m expecting it to last at least through December of 2021, but our current lease on the temporary New Jersey digs ends in May. We’re hoping that at this time we’ll be able to pull out of there and return home more or less full-time, with me spending maybe a week a month on site. But I’m a long-time consultant, and one of the reasons I’ve been successful is that I will always do what’s best for the project, rather than what suits my own druthers; so, we’ll see.
In summary: 2019 was pretty good. 2020 promises to be better still. Mrs. Animal and I both sure hope that every one of you True Believers will have a great 2020; and I do appreciate, very much, all of you. Thanks for reading (even if you just came for the pretty girls and stuck around to read my ramblings) and thanks for sticking around. We’ll try to keep up to snuff in 2020 and points beyond.
Happy New Year!