Monday, February 16, 2009

Family farewell

I feel like I should tug on my ear or something. The last six years have been a joy to share with the readers of the Mountain Democrat. We went on a journey together that commenced on a Monday in May 2003 on Memorial Day. I remember it was the start of the summer and I had nothing to write about except swimsuits, three kids and JD’s proclivity for air conditioning.

Since that weekend, I have shared my life with you, the ups and down, the seasons of my family and the people who shape my life. My kids grew up. I went from homeschooling to nursing school. On father’s day, you read stories about my husband, my father, my father-in-law, & my grandfather. On mother’s day, I wrote about my mom, momaher, grandmother and aunts. You read about weddings, family reunions, and family funerals. You read about the families in Jersey and the Barry's from Nebraska. You soon came to know my friends and my neighbors. You got to know my choir director, my pastors and my study buddies. My college friends and professors, colleagues and teachers still talk to me despite being the fodder for my musings in this column. I wrote about extraordinary people, young and old. I wrote about what was special to me and in a way, it was selfish of me to think you would be interested in that.

You read about my godchildren and my children. You read about Clare, Jordan, Maddie and MaryJane. You met Adam, Wally and Frank, extraordinary people who were special. You read about people I loved, who lived and then died; my Gram “Betty Boop,” Aunt Carol and Grumpy Jack. You read about my father Tom, who died serving in the air force, before I was born. You read mostly about my life long-father “Pop-Pop” who raised me and whose survival propelled me into the nursing profession.

You read about wood whittlers and communists. When my family was in a crisis, I shared it with you and when times were good, you read about that too. The Italian cousins and MoMaher were major ingredients of Family Fare…lucky me because they are so lovable. You read about my children Shannon, Conor & Birdy, the main ingredients of my life. I suppose in the kitchen, the big spoon is JD. You see, in life as in the kitchen, the big wooden spoon in the family is the one that ensures the consistency of everything. My husband has been the salt of the column. He flavored it all.

Golly, it was fun writing about the films I liked and the books I read. Mostly, I enjoyed writing about the people in this community, particularly those involved in the hospitality industry. It was a pleasure to meet and write about people like George Rupp, who works as an usher at the Regal in El Dorado Hills, Giovanni & Shari Gaudio who created Boccanato Trattorio; about Cindy and Daryl at Lucinda’s and the Kathleen & Bob Ash who own Bella Vista B & B. We live in a beautiful place. I love the intimacy of this newspaper. The stories of the locals, the schools, the teams, and the people are the vibrant tapestry of El Dorado County. For 150 years, you have been the fabric of this newspaper.

Writers must write because inside themselves they are constantly writing. I wish I could count the conversations and letters I have written in my head to people I care about, while driving the car, but have never had the time to send. Even though the Thursday edition of the paper is ending, there are a few things I want to leave you, not that I matter, but the editor of this paper read a couple stories about hamsters and children and let me write for you. What a privilege.

My family and people I met along the way, they are your family too. Your friends, your pastors, and loved ones shape you in ways you can never measure. You have had adventures in your life, you have stories to tell and share. Your thoughts are important; so is your faith. I believe inside every person is a story. Share it.

This column was about memories; long ago and those from a week ago. In a way, the diary was mine, but the readers had the key. Sometimes I said too much. I wish I could say more. I was able to share my faith, my friends, my family and I thank you. I served it up whether you liked it or not and you were a gracious guest. Sometimes readers write to tell you a thing or two and you had such nice things to say. You let me know you were reading. I often met in you in the line at the grocery store and it meant a lot to me to know that what I wrote meant a lot to you. Thanks for the space to park all the words.

Tammy Maher will continue to write on her blog and sends many thanks to Pat, Michael and the Mountain Democrat community for the experience. It was a lovely ride.