A Happy 2019 to all our readers and visitors to this space!
Later this month, as separate postings, we’ll be giving the LOAC Wheel of Fortune its first spin and we’ll present our annual Year in Review feature, as well. But first (which is a funny way to enter a room), here’s a little show-and-tell about how I spent my waning days of December, 2018 …
My wife, Krista, and I alternate years in terms of with whom we spend the holidays: odd-numbered years it’s with her family, even-numbered years with mine. In this case we packed our bags and jetted south to the Sunshine State for a week with my mother, also seeing my Florida-based sister, her husband, and their daughter in the process. Krista is the daredevil in our family — I adhere to a line by Ray Bradbury I read long ago. I’ll paraphrase it as: “Why do they call it terra firma? Because the more firma, the less terror” — and as a Christmas present, my sister arranged a meeting in Kissimmee so my wife and niece, Haley, could try a ride known as The Slingshot. The operators claim, “This innovative Slingshot amusement device is by far one the most exciting vertical amusement rides available today. Slingshot passengers are catapulted vertically at over 100 miles per hour …” It looks like this, from a distance:
We arrived for the moment of truth around 11AM, and things went off without a hitch. After their first full-price ride, the dynamic duo were able to come back for follow-up rides for only ten dollars each. So despite the chill of the evening (yes, temperatures in the low 40s are considered cold in Florida, though Northerners may scoff at such a notion), Krista and Haley went back that night for another go.
Their rides were captured for posterity on YouTube (good promotional material, I suppose) — their first ride, during the morning, is here: Haley (left) Krista (right) Inaugural Launch (warning: my wife screams a four-letter expletive during take-off, and she misuses the word “awesome,” a common occurrence I try in vain to correct at every opportunity). Their nighttime follow-up can be seen here: Krista (right) and Haley (left) Skyward at Night.
While I think you can see they both enjoyed the experience, Krista paid a price — seems she had been coming down with a cold and that chill nighttime air brought it on full force. Twenty-four hours later, she had effectively lost her voice and was feeling pretty crummy, as the cold quickly became a full-fledged respiratory infection. So for me, where my wife was concerned, Christmas really was “Silent Night!”
By December 26th it was apparent medication was going to be needed to get her back on the road to good health, so we located and drove to a walk-in clinic, where the doctor checked her condition and wrote a few prescriptions for her. While we waited for the pharmacy to ready the necessary pills we wandered the large outdoor shopping plaza, and what to my wond’ring eyes did appear but …
Hey! A comics shop! I love visiting comics shops when I’m traveling — nice to see what other towns have to offer. With nothing better to do, my wife acquiesced to my insistent, “Can we go inside? Huh? Can we? Can we? Huh?” and we approached, with the idea I could give readers here a report on what I found inside. Alas, ’twas not to be, as the big white arrow I’ve added to this close-up shot proves …
Seems the proprietors decided no one wants to buy comics the day after Christmas (and hey, they know their market, so who am I to argue?). So — sorry to have missed you, Caritas Comics! Maybe next time we visit my mother I can break away long enough to pay you another visit!
The medicine did my wife considerable good. In a day or so her voice came mostly back — still somewhat raspy, but at least she could now be heard again. All too soon our visit ended and we returned to our New England home, where we exchanged gifts between the two of us, and gave a new present to the third member of our little tribe.
Our dog, Gypsy, couldn’t come to Florida with us, so she was boarded with the folks who take her for daycare one day each week. It’s familiar surroundings and familiar persons for her, and she gets treated well there. Of course, she was still mighty glad when we came to bring her home the morning after our return, and when she got her own Christmas gift, a small, soft likeness of Shari Lewis’s famous puppet, Lamb Chop, well — do you think she liked it just a bit?
So now gift-giving season is behind us and we’ve changed calendars from the old year to the new. I received one more very nice Christmas present, one sure to warm the heart of any comics fan. My Florida-based sister and my two other siblings chipped in to purchase it, and though I saw it on Christmas Day while in Florida, it’s so sizable it has to be shipped north to me; no way it would have arrived undamaged had I tried to bring it home on the plane! I’ll be sure to show it to you after it arrives, but for now, once again, Happy New Year to one and all!