noticed a number of polls out there asking people to come up with a
single word to sum up the year 2020. "Hindsight" pops to mind.
According to Webster's, "twenty-twenty hindsight" is "the
full knowledge and complete understanding that one has about an event
only after it has happened." Anyway, we started writing this
letter in November, and may add more once we reach the end of the
kicked off January with a lovely Italian dinner out with Vonnie, Margo and
Michael. Soon after was pizza with Dean and Mark & family,
then a visit to the
Getty with Jim & Lissa, dinner with Carol & Scott, and
a fun trip to Disneyland. We also enjoyed a visit to the Crocker
Art Museum in Sacramento (and a nice dinner) with our niece, Emma,
while she was attending U. C. Davis. Normally we wouldn't include these details, but they
are all strikingly poignant now, since they represent the last times we
ate out with friends and family - these are cherished memories!
A Nutter's Woodpecker across the street
On the Meadow Loop walk
We saw the end of Tom's 37th season at the Wawona Hotel January 4th,
and the end of his 35th season at The Ahwahnee March 9th. Then COVID-19
closed the hotel. Around the same time, an inspection of the electrical wiring at the Wawona Hotel
forced the hotel's shutdown for the whole year. From March 13 to June 11, all of Yosemite National Park was
27th, we premiered the first of our series of weekly Wawona Journal
videos online at You Tube. Two of Tom's usual appearances went
virtual at the Old
Town Music Hall and the West
Coast Ragtime Festival.
cosmic events marked the year: comet Neowise in July, and the
conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in December.
Neowise above the Wawona Hotel Annex from the golf course, July 19.
Jupiter and Saturn dancing at
the mouth of Yosemite Valley, Dec. 24, seen from the Yosemite Chapel
cancelled several planned trips, most notably a stay at Death
Valley and an extended trip to Olympic National Park. We took some
day-long drives on Yosemite's Tioga road to celebrate Diane's
birthday in August and our anniversary in October, including a drive to
the eastern Sierra to see the fall-colors. Otherwise, we confined our trips to monthly visits to the grocery store in
Oakhurst, where our goods are delivered to the back of our truck.
Ellery Lake, Tioga Pass
Tailed Hawk in Tuolumne Meadow
Autumn on the June Lake Loop
over Wawona, September 5th
September 6th to the 22nd, the Creek Fire threatened Wawona,
putting us under an evacuation warning, during which we were
packed and ready to leave our home.
the fire stayed about 12 miles away and we didn't have to
evacuate, but smoke from the fire filled the Wawona basin and
forced us to remain indoors with our air-filters running
is reported that the
fire destroyed 856 structures. We were fortunate, this season.
Dogwood, Aspen, Japanese Maple, and Maple - in our garden
First snow, last leaves
Skeeter in Big Creek pool
year we lost cousin Genevieve
Agatha Mary Donovan Gibson, aged 97, to COVID-19.
We said goodbye to
Field, who with Bill Coffman created and
ran the Old Town Music Hall and introduced Tom to the vintage music that
would define his career.
we marked the passing of a long-time acquaintance, Bob
Complex, often aggravating, Bob had a good heart and was a unique and
interesting character - and he loved cats. He always seemed to be
around, from the beginning of Tom's career at the Maple Leaf Club around
1976. In 1983 Bob helped the Wawona Hotel's manager to bring in a lineup
of pianists to play through the summer. Tom was the second in the
lineup, and was promptly hired full-time.
thoughts and prayers are always with our family, especially with those
who are dealing with serious
health issues--and we are grateful that so many of us have remained safe
and well this year.
Thanksgiving chicken on dad's 1959
IN THE MOUNTAINS
noticed our cottonwood and aspen trees starting to leaf out around
April 25th, then dropping their colorful leaves around mid-October.
ate up the tulips and some of the other bulbs, and badly damaged
an ornamental pear tree (we'll see if it survives). Diane has been
waging war on the gophers, and Tom is planning to join in her
are surprised to see so many people in the park at this time of
the year. Normally it's very quiet here, but it looks like lots of
people want to be in the mountains during this time of pandemic.
continue to be hermits, and busy ourselves with projects until
we're comfortable with venturing out.
wish all a love-filled and safe 2021.
Diane just received a sweet remembrance of her career teaching art
at Beverly Hills High School: "We extend holiday greetings to
you and Tom. I often think of the times I visited your classroom.
I always left the room feeling that you were a master teacher. I
suspect that you are remaining most creative with your works of
Sol Levine, former Principal and Superintendent of the Beverly Hills
Unified School District
Turkeys in the yard, two days before Thanksgiving
the head of the Wawona Meadow
24 - moon over the Yosemite Chapel
One of Diane's latest watercolors
Us at Tunnel View, May 25th (Memorial Day),
when Yosemite was closed to the public by the pandemic
Casting our shadows on Diane's birthday in