December 31, 2018 Annual Year-End Letter

Year-Inflation is a subtle and insidious mystery which has finally made itself obvious. Yes, the Fed will raise interest-rates now and then to control monetary inflation, but have failed to raise time-rates since 1913. As a result, we now have entire years, such as 2018, which plainly lack a fraction of the time-content of previous years. And that is why the year went by so quickly.

While we contemplate what to do about this, here is a synopsis of our relativity-ravaged, time-deflated year of 2018.


On January first, the sun came up. Following this, we had a multitude of visits, both here and there, with loving friends and relatives. That. Keeps. Us. Sane. Well, reasonably so. We count among these friends our “Regulars” who yearly patronize the hotels and campgrounds in Yosemite, many of whom have become dear to our hearts.

At The Ahwahnee

Diane & Carol & the proper use of a grand piano


Of course there were Tom’s usual annual gigs here and there, except for the Ragtime Festival near Sacramento, for which we bowed out due to smoke from the catastrophic fire in Paradise. We attended (and Tom performed at the piano) the long-awaited reopening of the Mariposa Grove of Big Trees (which is in our back-yard, six miles up the hill) on June 14th. On July 8th we celebrated the 240th birthday of Tom, Doug, Randy and Rusty in Huntington Beach – these four have been pals since the first grade, and this would be the last of many reunions over the years for Rusty, who died in September. In December we enjoyed a fine performance of the Nutcracker featuring Rusty’s daughter. We also celebrated the retirement of Wawona Ranger friends Dean Shenk and John Jackson.

Rusty, Randy, Doug and Tom


Since our primary doctor is in Beverly Hills (adopted by us after Tom’s heart-surgery last year), we try to coordinate appointments with visits to relatives and friends (see “VISITS” above). Between Tom’s and Diane’s medical issues, that made for a good handful of visits. See also NATURAL DISASTERS, below. 

On a trip to San Diego, we helped move nephew Tyler into his dorm.

Smokey Wawona (1985 by Tom Bopp)


While we were in Cambria for a reunion of Diane’s old Methodist Youth Fellowship (MYF) pals, word came of a fire that started way down the Merced River, miles away from our house. By the time we got home, the now named Ferguson Fire was filling the Wawona basin with smoke, forcing the closure of the Wawona Hotel (doing business as “Big Trees Lodge” – where Tom works) on July 25th. It wouldn’t reopen until August 30th. The entire town of Wawona was evacuated from August 1st to 6th. For all of August we bounced between hotels and friends’ homes with periodic visits to our home (staying indoors with two HEPA filters at full blast). Due to the coordinated efforts of thousands of hard-working trained firefighters, Wawona, Yosemite West, El Portal, and many other populated areas were spared the fate of our northern Sierra neighbors in the town of Paradise.

Genevieve, the Comfort Squirrel, reclining on our deck.


January 7: Ed Hardy, former President of the Yosemite Park & Curry Co. (Tom’s original employer in Yosemite). We attended (and Tom spoke at) his memorial service in April.

January 23: Jim Davidson, the music teacher responsible for Tom’s early music education. 1989 Video

March 18: Carl Huebschle, one of the beloved Berkeley Gang who have frequented Wawona for the past two decades.

June 18: Ginny Bee, who with her husband were Entertainment Directors for the Yosemite Park & Curry Co. from 1949 to 1968.

September 11: Rusty Puffpaff, Tom’s friend since first grade.



Our garden grows: dogwood blossoms in the spring with lots of roses and columbine. Trees leaf out and get taller: cottonwood, maple, birch, poplar, aspen, dogwood, all of which give a good show in autumn. Native deer-grass and some non-natives get eaten (by design) by local deer. In September we had a cord of firewood delivered. October had the whole-house generator clucked over. One must keep the generator happy, as it is often pressed into service by trees falling across power lines between here and Oakhurst. October also brought the much-anticipated Large Item Pickup day, for which we unloaded a dead microwave oven and helped neighbor John dispose of a fridge.

Now that the holidays are coming to a close, Diane is in the last phase of her cheerfully-embraced (for the most part) Holiday Duties which have included (but are not confined to): decorating the house, the trees (inside and out), writing cards, wrapping gifts, decorating the piano at the hotel (and decorating Tom) for various events there such as the Tree Lighting Ceremony, the Lighting of the Yule Log, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and last but not least New Year’s Eve. Tom continues his local history research, and is currently deep into writing a biographical sketch of a famous local stagecoach driver, George Monroe. Stay tuned.


We wish all a disaster-free 2019, and a modest raise for the time-content of the coming year of, say, 7 percent. Is that asking too much?




Tom & Diane


Somebody Tom met on the Redondo Beach pier.