Today marks the 15th Christmas that wife Amy and I have celebrated here at our Blue Ridge Mountain home in Floyd County, Virginia.
We closed on the purchase of the house on Dec. 1, 2004, and officially moved in on Dec. 24 after Sam Hancock completed new flooring in the entry alcove and dining room and installed a new fireplace mantle in the living room and slept in the new bedroom suite purchased from Maurice Vaughan’s furniture store in Galax. The new TV sat on temporary stands because the new AV furniture was not set to arrive until after the first of the year.
Furniture and belongings from the condo we shared for 23 years in Arlington sat in a storage room in Northern Virginia until we gave the moving company the OK to bring it down in January.
The move to Floyd began a new chapter of our lives, which began more than 25 years earlier in Alton, Illinois, where I served as reporter, photographer, columnist and editor for 12 years and met Amy in 1977. The move to the National Capital region in 1981 began another chapter and we hope the move to Floyd would be the last and final move in what would be the sunset years of our time together.
For one thing, it would be the beginning of us being together in one place at one time for extended periods. I traveled a lot in the jobs I had for the government and Congress and even more when I returned to journalism for the final dozen years there. I was gone on too many Christmases. Sometimes Amy could be with me in places like London and the Far East but too often, I would spend Christmas working among a few colleagues and a lot of strangers.
But since 2004, we have been home, here in Floyd County, for each Christmas. Even my lengthy stay in the hospital after the infamous motorcycle-cow encounter on U.S. 221 in Roanoke County in 2012 ended when Carilion released me to return home to Floyd on Christmas Eve.
In this December, we celebrate 40 years as man and wife, my 72nd birthday and 15 years at home here in Floyd.
From us to each of you, our friends — old and new — the readers of Blue Ridge Muse and others, our best wishes for a Merry Christmas, an excellent Hanakkuh and/or Happy Holidays.
We hope to see you again for year 16.