I guess it’s fitting that we head into the new year with a Charley story. This week will mark not only the day I lost Tim (Jan. 5, 2022), but also the arrival of the cat (Jan. 6, 2022) who helped me through one of the most difficult years of my life. Most of you know the story of how Charley came into my life, but if not, read it here. It’s quite something.
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It’s hard to believe a whole year has passed since those days last January, but here we are, heading into 2023. We are officially into the distant future from my childhood days of watching “Star Trek” and “My Favorite Martian” in the 1960s. What an odd place to be.
Anyway, Charley and I had a good holiday, all things considered. There are lots of anniversaries this time of year, some joyful, some sad. Along with Tim’s death-iversary and the arrival of Charley in January, there’s also the day Tim and I took the ambulance to Munson Hospital (Dec. 16, 2021), and our 29th wedding anniversary (Dec. 31, 1993; 43 years together total). It’s something to think about all of those years and adventures together and now me heading into the great unknown without him.
I’m glad both kids were here to keep me from thinking too much about all of that. Will is still living here with me and Charley, and Marissa flew home from L.A. for Christmas. We thought she would get here on Dec. 22 just before the big storm hit, but alas, her flight kept getting delayed in Chicago. In fact, she was actually ON the plane when the final delay was announced, thus sending all of the forlorn passengers back into the chaos of O’Hare.
We somehow managed to get her on standby for American Airlines’ last flight north that night, and in very Christmas Miracle fashion, she was the last name called to board that plane. She got here around midnight, just as the snowy winds began to swirl.
She was here until Dec. 28, and it took her two days to get home, thanks to a delayed flight in TC, which caused her to miss her connection to L.A. in Chicago. Thankfully, American Airlines put her up in a nice Sheraton hotel (not far from Evanston, where my mom and dad met at Northwestern University), so at least she didn’t have to spend the night at O’Hare. The next day, she had a layover in Indianapolis, then home to L.A.
I was a little concerned that we wouldn’t see Charley for the entire time Marissa was here, but yet another Christmas Miracle happened. It seems that Charley remembered her, and by the next day, she came out of hiding and then hung around with us the entire time my girl was home. Here’s photographic evidence…
But not before sitting on the steps to ponder whether it was safe to come down (she decided it was).
However, she seemed a little freaked out that we brought a whole tree into the house and then put bright lights on it.
She was also very intrigued by all the brightly-colored Christmas cookies.
But as always, the woodstove provides a safe place for warmth and comfort.
Since the first time we met each other, she’s always melted into my arms when I pick her up (she still does that, Maura). But no more so than when we’re in front of the warm fire.
She’s developed a routine. When she hears me open the woodstove door to throw a log in, like clockwork she appears before me and demands to be hugged for a minute before melting into my lap. Like clockwork. And there’s nothing better at that moment in time.
A NOTE FROM JANE: I started Old Mission Gazette in 2015 because I felt a calling to provide the Old Mission Peninsula community with local news. After decades of writing for newspapers like the New York Times and Los Angeles Times, and magazines like Family Circle and Ladies' Home Journal, I really just wanted to write about my own community where I grew up on a cherry farm and raised my own family. So of course, I started my own newspaper. Because the Gazette is mainly reader-supported, I hope you'll consider tossing a few bucks my way if I mention your event, your business, your organization or your news item, or if you simply love reading about what's happening on the Old Mission Peninsula. Check out the donation page here. Thank you so much for your support. -jb