In March, Julie's sister Chris came to visit and we all had a ball. She really should get down this way more often! She needs to keep her riders status current!
Julie and Chris at an overlook on the BRP
During April I was able to make what has become my annual trip to Florida to visit Dad. They've all been special trips, but during this one Dad and I were able to sneak off for a day and bring back some memories of the drainage districts days and have a great time doing so.
Dad out with me "Checking the pumps"
June was special because of the McCrary family reunion. This year was not only the annual get together of granddaddy's kids and their families, but what is called the BIG reunion when the entire extended family gets together every fifth year.
Granddaddy McCrary's kids and their families
July. Lordy July. Talk about riding the proverbial emotional rollercoaster... The high point (aside from Julie's birthday!) was getting the FJR. I've babbled on and on about how great it is and how much we enjoy it, and it's true. The low point was the loss of Roxie, our Great Dane. We 'rescued' her from a bad situation as a young adult dog and found that she was skittish and didn't much care for me or men in general. But I looked her in the eyes and told her that I loved her and that one day she would love me too. It didn't take long before she became a "daddy's girl". All of our dogs are and have been special, but there was something really special about 'Roxers'...
Our 'new' ride, a 2007 Yamaha FJR 1300
Our wedding anniversary is in August, this year marks 26 years that Julie has put up with me. In the last few years we have taken off for at least a week-end on the bike to celebrate this wonderful occasion. This years trip was to Burke's Garden, Virginia and it was a great one! Not only was the ride itself a memory maker but we stumbled upon the Old Fiddlers Convention too. August was also when Bryan an I introduced Julie to motorcycle road racing by taking her to the Big Kahuna Nationals at VIR in Danville, Virginia. She wasn't real impressed...
The Old Country Store, Burke's Garden, Va.
Bryan and Julie in the vendors area at VIR
Bryan and I made our second trip to the second annual NHRA Carolina Nationals in Charlotte in September and it was great. I think this has become a new annual trek for us.
Getting our Nitro fix at the Carolina Nationals
October was another one of those roller coaster months. We went on a wonderful ride to the western North Carolina mountains with our pals Teddy and Tim and had a ball. The Collins Foundation brought two WWII war birds to the Lexington airport, including a mock up of the B-24 Liberator that an uncle was a crew member on. Bryan and I were able to take tons of photos, videos and even get on board two of the bombers! But October was also when I and a few of my co-workers lost our jobs. Call me a victim of the economy and the credit crunch, and for being naive enough to take a man at his word. But I'm a firm believer in what goes around comes around, it's just a matter of time. I also believe that when one door closes another one opens, I just hope it doesn't take too long to open...
Julie and I flicking the FJR through one of the many turns on "The Tail of the Dragon near Deals Gap, North Carolina
A B-24J 'Liberator' painted to resemble the one that my uncle Jimmy was a crewman on in WWII
November brought more sadness and emotional upheavals to our family. On the morning of the 5th I got a phone call telling me that my dad had tumor in his large intestine that would have to be surgically removed, later that afternoon Julie was told that her dad had been diagnosed with prostrate cancer. My dad's tumor turned out to be cancerous but the surgery was successful in removing it. His recovery went remarkable smoothly all things considered and he continues to do well. Julie's dad is still undergoing treatment, he's doing well and in good spirits which we have to take as a good sign. We continue to pray for both of them.
Christmas decorations in Clewiston
December rolled around and found me still unemployed and with no real prospects or hope of a job on the horizon. Still, we tried to keep our spirits up while hoping and praying for better times. As the month wore on Julie and I decided that we needed to do something extreme to get our spirits up. Bryan had a few weeks off from school for Christmas break and Julie still had some unused vacation time left and I, unfortunately, had lots of time on my hands. With that in mind we began to put a plan together to go up and visit Julie's family in Wisconsin for Christmas. The reality was that we shouldn't spend the money to do it, but on the other hand if we did it right it wouldn't be that expensive and would do all of us a world of good. It did. It really, really did. Some how or another it seemed to end what had been a year with more than it's share of heart aches, misfortunes and emotional upheavals on a high note, giving us hope for the new year.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!