End of year
letter, er, what year? Oh, yes, that twenty-seventeen thing. Sigh.
Flood, surgery, fire, smoke, but through it all the love of friends.
all started nicely with the usual festivities at the Wawona Hotel
(currently masquerading as “Big Trees Lodge” until the lawyers have
accumulated enough billable hours). Diane and I enjoyed nights in
Yosemite Valley as I caressed the various Steinways at the Ahwahnee
(doing business as “Majestic Yosemite Hotel” until…oh yes, said
flood alert closed Yosemite Valley on January 7 for a couple days;
here’s some video I shot in Wawona the next day: https://youtu.be/oL22fhNnOkM
. Rain-triggered debris-flows closed highways into the valley for
a time. For a couple of weeks in early March Highway 41 was
completely closed when the road collapsed between the Yosemite
South Entrance and Fish Camp. To shop in Oakhurst we had to drive
there via Yosemite Valley/Mariposa.
tripped down to Los Angeles to bid a last farewell to Anne Carson, one
of the last of Diane’s parents’ generation of Pacific Palisades
passing of note was our beloved cousin, Dick Andrew (Diane’s paternal
aunt’s son-in-law) on September 28th. Also we note the
passing of Ace the Cat, Diane’s dad’s kitty companion who spent his
later years with neighbor Ray Bracken.
of late spring/summer was devoted more or less to my health issues. As
it turns out, my life was saved through intervention of doctor-friends
(and Wawona-fans) Mark & Greg who one night, visiting with me after
work, recommended I get a second opinion about my heart condition down
at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles. Here, from Dr. Alfredo Trento,
I received prompt satisfaction to previously unanswered basic questions
about my condition, and underwent successful open-heart
aortic-valve-replacement surgery on July 13. Diane was there with me all
the way and was brave, loving and supportive. Dear friends came to
comfort us both at the hospital and through recovery. In less than four
weeks I was back at work (August 8th), the two of us
receiving a loving and warm welcome home from neighbors, friends,
co-workers and guests at the hotel.
days later, August 13th saw the start of the South Fork
Fire which caused the evacuation of the entire Wawona community
from the 19th through 23rd. Wawona was
fortunate to sustain no damage, thanks to the valiant
days after our return from evacuation, August 29th, we
received notice of the start of a fire (soon to be dubbed the
“Railroad Fire”) in nearby Fish Camp. We were given a
pre-evacuation notice, but never required to evacuate for this
Five days later, we
left on a long-planned two-week train trip to Glacier National
Park which, as it turns out, was also on fire, thwarting our hopes
to get away from choking smoke. In fact, much of the route up the
coast to Seattle and east through Washington to Montana brought us
through a smorgasbord of forest fires. Two of the hotels we’d
booked were evacuated due to fire (and subsequently saved from
burning), so we spent all of our time in East Glacier Park between
two hotels: Glacier Park Lodge and Many Glacier Lodge. A shift in
the wind cleared much of the smoke, much of the time, but
strenuous activity was out of the question.
a vintage cruiser on Josephine Lake, Glacier National Park.
brought us lots of Dr. visits in Los Angeles, getting a handle on
Diane’s medical issues. On one of those trips fire closed our
normal route up the 405; our only escape from L.A. was via Hwy 1
as fire bordered the road on both sides.
We ended the
year as usual with holiday festivities at our dear hotel singing
carols and Auld Lang Syne. We’re so grateful for caring friends
and caring doctors, and wish you the same through life’s
the noise, and cease your strife, and hear the angels sing.”