Wednesday, December 30, 2015

2015: Year of the Heart

In less than 18 hours, I'll be in St. Louis at the train station across from the Scottrade Center picking up my Illinois girl and bringing her back here for a week. I've been doing the countdown for seeing her for the past few days, constantly checking the clock and acting like an over-anxious kid before Christmas.

The countdown shifted suddenly today when we learned the train would not make it all the way into Arkansas because of flooding on the Mississippi River. It would only go as far as St. Louis. Oddly, and ironically as it were, when I discovered this tidbit of information, I was writing a story for the newspaper where I work about flooding and how the swollen Mississippi River was delaying crests along the Arkansas River.

Instead of picking her up in a town about 30 miles from here at 3:30 a.m. (depending upon Amtrak's promptness), I will now be in St. Louis at 7 p.m. It gives me eight more hours with her than had the train made its full journey and for that I am glad.

It's been that kind of year lately with unexpected changes and as 2015 draws to a close, I reflect upon the events of this year, the top stories of my life and whatever theme I can come up with that encapsulates the way this run went.

I do it every year. It's probably a news thing; each year the Associated Press sends out ballots to editors to select the top stories of the year. The state wire service does the same thing and, although us reporters don't vote, we do consider the year's legislative actions, the sensational trials, the horrific crimes, the deadly storms and all the other news when debating about the impacting stories of the year.

My personal year, my tour of 2015, has a simple theme. It's “Heart.”

I opened the year with a heavy heart. On Jan. 24, my cat, May, had to be put to sleep after she suffered scores of seizures. I had that cat for seven and a half years and, although I didn't consider myself a cat person at first, I bonded with that pet more than I've done with most humans I've known. It was yet another loss that I seemed to be getting quite experienced with. I deal with abandonment and sadness a lot; it broke my heart losing her.

Later in the year, a friend of mine had a series of medical issues that was somewhat nerve-wracking. Another friend became seriously involved with a woman and I became his consultant during their two-step dance of love, regret, reconciliation and angst. Then, my editor at the newspaper, the best person I've ever worked with, quit and moved off. The heart took a beating with all the changes.

But life soldiered on and in the late summer, my heart woke again. I began talking with my Illinois girl on Aug. 23, and in September I drove the 554 miles to see her for the first time. Everything changed after that. Not to get all mushy here (People can see in the bio on the right side of this post about me being a romantic dreamer), but this girl has made my heart beat again.

The APBA game realm, for which this blog is named, has seen some changes as well. I began a replay of the 1991 baseball season in August but, because of my own changes in life, the pace of the games has slowed. That, in itself, is a change from the norm. But the heart is still there when I do play the occasional contest or two on some days.

So, 2015 began with a broken heart and is closing with a mended one. I will be with my Illinois girl on New Year's Eve and she will be the first person I speak with in 2016. That's a good sign for the upcoming year.

How will this relationship play out in 2016? I have no idea. I am sure there will be many unforeseen changes ahead for the upcoming year, but at least it's beginning with a good heart.

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