2020 Year in Review: Missing in Action

What a year it has been. Or, has not been is more like it. Self-isolation has been the standard operating procedure. Staying home. Wearing masks when running the necessary errands to sustain life. Eliminating travel.

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Staying safe created a horrible, lonely year, and in review, I made a short list of all the things I have missed.

Things I missed:

  • Handshakes and hugs
  • Eating at a restaurant
  • Going to the movies
  • Fishing with friends
  • Horizons Unlimited Virginia Motorcycle Travelers Meeting
  • Wandering through the vendors at art fairs and festivals
  • The Labor Day Taildragger Fly-in Breakfast at Red Stewart Airfield
  • Hugs and handshakes
  • Motorcycle camping with friends
  • The Family Picnic
  • Entertaining friends at our house, or their house
  • Motorcycling to coffee/breakfast/lunch with friends
  • Did I mention handshakes and hugs? The human touch

Using the internet and technology, I found a way to stay in touch with friends. Maybe you have too. Do you Zoom?

Campfire Chat 07-22-2020

Things I managed to do:

  • Walks with Lin
  • Motorcycle rides, but no touring
  • Cooking, but I’m the cook at our house anyway
  • Zoom meetings with family and friends
  • Drastically reduced my alcohol consumption despite the pandemic, which really goes against the grain in these circumstances
  • Binge-watch programs on Netflix
  • Watch more college and pro football than ever before
  • Spend way too much time on Facebook
  • Bought and sold motorcycles
  • Turned 70 years old in November. BTW, 70 is the new 50.
  • Made love to my wife, Lin, 24/7/366. 2020 was a leap year.

Yeah. What a year. 2021 starts tomorrow, and vaccinations are just around the corner. Can I start planning now?

See you on the highway.

Brent

The end of November

Today is the last day of November. The 30th. It seems like the year has gone by so fast, and yet perilously slow as caution and quarantine take priority.

November 30 - 2020

The weather has finally turned. What was a comfortable temperature in the low to mid fifties, is now in the mid to low thirties, raining and forecasts of the first snow that will slow down traffic and cause a little havoc on the roads and highways.

For the most part, the flowerbeds have been cleaned. The hydrangea have been cut back and hostas trimmed of their wilting leaves. It is hibernation time for the plants, and feels the same within the house.

It is a curious time going into winter. Outside activities are being replaced with indoors. Daylight is dwindling still, and yet only three weeks remain before this globe of ours starts its path around the sun to a place when a minute here and there of daylight will be added to our days. I am already anxious for that.

See you on the highway.

Brent

Retirement, what is it good for?

D. Brent Miller

It seems I have been fighting this for some time. A realization. People would ask me if I am retired, and I would give them my standard answer, “I am semi-retired, but I still do a little writing and photography.” If they asked my wife, she would say, “Oh yeah. He’s retired.”

And that 1970 song by Edwin Starr keeps ringing in my head, “War! What is it good for? … Absolutely nothing.” Maybe that song sticks in my head because I was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1970 and went to Vietnam in 1971. I did my best. I served my country. But, what exactly was that war all about?

I kind of feel like that about retirement. What is retirement really all about? What is it good for? There is some reality that must be faced, and it comes with new opportunities and challenges. First, there is a lot of freedom in retirement. No schedule that you have to keep. You can sleep in, or get up every morning before 6:30 like I do with or without an alarm clock. You can do the things you want and go to places you have always wanted to see. Of course, there are financial considerations.

You can do things for others. Put others first. Serve others. There can be a lot of joy in serving others, and it’s not like work in a dreary job, where no one or few appreciate your efforts.

In retirement, I have found joy in volunteering. To serve others. To help bring someone else along or lift them up. To share skills and knowledge. Yes, there are some schedules to keep, and accountability, but there is joy. Fulfillment. Happiness.

I have concluded that I am actually not retired. I am 68 years old and a Volunteer. And, I will keep writing and photographing, but just for me. You can read along, if you want, here in these pages.

D. Brent Miller

See you on the highway.

Brent

A Quilt of Valor in Progress

Quilt-of-Valor_02-11-2019-1

There is a mixture of pride and amazement watching my wife make a quilt. And, I am honored that she will ask me to lend my eye to the design and layout. Perhaps it is my photographic eye, or just that she enjoys having me participate.

I have asked her on several occasions if I could write a story of her making a quilt from start to finish, and she has agreed, but this one quilt, this Quilt of Valor, is not that one. This quilt was started a year ago before I asked.

Lin had attended a Quilt of Valor workshop to learn more about these special quilts. A Quilt of Valor is made for loved ones who are members of the military or veterans. At that workshop, she cut strips and sewed blocks. Later, at home, she put those pieces in a box to store the quilt pieces. After a while, it became a UFO, that’s Unfinished Object in sewing speak. Over the weekend, the pieces came out of the box, and were laid out on the floor to start the process of quilt making again. This is where the actual layout comes together and corrections are made. Ideas for borders are contemplated and different fabrics and designs tested.

The quilt pieces laid on the floor for a day or so before going back into the quilt box. How long will it be before this one is finished? Don’t know. But some veteran, somewhere, is going to enjoy the comfort of this quilt. Stay tuned.

You may be asking if this quilt is for me. No. I have seen Lin’s design idea for my Quilt of Valor. It’s going to be incredible because it will be made with a whole lot of love.

See you on the highway.

Brent