From my standpoint, that trip around the sun we just completed was certainly more interesting than most.
Yep, 2014 was chock-full of memorable stuff for this particular resident of the south-central Missouri Ozarks. I can’t think of any year that has presented as many endings, beginnings, surprises and memories.
I experienced a couple of significant losses during the year, topped by my mom dying in June.
I still recall being a little kid in Orange County, Calif., and having Betty Davison console me after I slammed the door of her white 1965 Comet wagon on my finger after hitting balls at the batting cage facility in Buena Park. I can still see her playing with my two daughters when she visited my wife Wendy and our family in the north Georgia mountains in 2001.
And I can still feel the excitement of watching Miss Betty in 2009 – at the age of 83 – nail a 3-wood within 2-feet of the pin at Lomas Santa Fe Golf Course in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. She was a pretty dang good golfer all the way up until she just couldn’t be.
Before that, my all-time favorite dog died in March.
Jamie was one-of-a-kind in the truest sense of the old saying. He loved life, and I loved having him live it with me for as long as he did.
From the moment I first saw him behind the chain link gate in a kennel at the animal shelter in Oceanside, Calif., I knew there was something more looking back at me than just a wayward Pembroke Welsh Corgi. And I was right.
I also experienced some significant gains in 2014, one on the canine front as another unusual dog –Wally – entered my life in August. He has Cardigan Welsh Corgi genes mixed with Wire Fox Terrier and his wackiness and zest for existence suits me fine. He’s “a mess” in the best sense of the phrase, and he and I are working on what will hopefully be a long and interesting partnership.
And how about that 2014 weather? Man, we froze our toes off for the first three months; there were at least 10 days when thermometers mounted to Texas County outbuildings showed readings below zero and the Houston School District set a record for “snow days.”
The other day I was looking at some photos I took when a snowstorm was whaling away March 16 on its way to dumping several inches of white stuff a few days before the official start of spring. Here’s hoping March 2015 is warmer.
But once winter finally relented, we enjoyed months of one of the nicest runs of weather imaginable. Following week after week of perfect spring conditions, summer never really materialized, except for about a two-week stretch in August. I took advantage by spending many of the 58-degree nights hanging out by the fire pit at our remote Texas County high country outpost (I’ve said it before – I love cool, clear summer nights with low humidity).
Then there was week after week of perfect fall conditions, and the first freeze didn’t even happen until November. Of course, once the cold arrived, it stubbornly lingered for almost the whole month and a record was set for consecutive days in November with high temperatures below 40.
But then we got away with a relatively mild December (which works for me), although we didn’t see the sun very often and the ground became very soggy.
And not a single bout with torrential rain the entire year! My driveway didn’t get washed out once! Hallelujah!
Meanwhile, my wife flew here and there in airplanes six times in 2014. Six times? Before that, it was highly unusual for either of us to fly more than once in a year.
I got a flight in, too, in a tiny, speedy 1995 Van’s RV-6 “kit plane.” It was breathtaking and I’ll never forget it.
Wow, 2014. Republicans took control of the House of Representatives, the Seahawks finally won a Super Bowl and an airliner disappeared (allegedly). And who knew 365 days ago that we’d ever again be paying just over a buck-fifty for gasoline?
Its seemed to come and go so quickly and it’s hard to believe it’s over. I wonder what 2015 will do for an encore.
Doug Davison is a writer, photographer and newsroom assistant for the Houston Herald. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.