But I do owe you, my loyal blog buddies, an explanation for my long absence.
2017 has been, in so many ways, the most difficult year of my life–no small statement, since I’m 68.
On November 5, my beloved cousin, my heart-twin and trail boss, Mary Ann Bleecker Readman, passed away after a long and difficult illness. Since I was only six months old when she came into the world, I don’t remember a time when she wasn’t a big, big part of my life. Without her, I feel like a table with a leg missing. I’m pretty much lost.
Of course grief touches everyone’s life, at time or another; none of us are exempt.
She was the strongest person I’ve ever known, except for my dad, and she could be really bull-headed. (Also like my dad.) From the time she was quite small, she could buck bales with the best of them, out in the hayfield, and she could drive anything–logging truck, tractor–you name it. We were so different, and yet so very close.
My brother, Jerry, tells a great story about our cousin, and I’d love to share it here. He was in elementary school, and it was Halloween day; in a place as small as Northport was and is, kids dressed up and went out trick-or-treating as soon as the sun set, hitting every house in town, a much-anticipated event. Sometime in the afternoon, one of the local bullies cornered him and said, “I’m going to get you tonight.”
Jerry considered the threat, then replied, “May you will, but you’ll have Mary Ann to deal with tomorrow.”
Need I say more? Nothing happened that night; my brother trick-or-treated in peace.
That was Mary Ann. She was kind and generous to a fault, but she was also ranch-tough. If there was one thing she couldn’t stand, it was bullying–especially when the victim was her kin.
I only wish I were half as strong as she was, but I’m not. I miss her every moment of every day, and for a long time, I couldn’t write or do anything constructive.
Now, I’m doing all I can to keep it together, get back on track, etc. My cousin made it clear before she left us that she wanted me to get my act together and carry on, write my books, live my life.
Guess I’d better do it.
After all, one of these days, I’ll have Mary Ann to deal with.