#317–Looking back at 2021 . . .

Winter in Yellowstone

In spite of Covid, this turned out to be a productive and memorable year. This post is basically what I sent out as my Christmas letter.

Last spring, I put together a book, The Cancer Blog, a compilation of the blog posts I wrote during my five months of chemo, while fighting late-stage lymphoma in 2014-15. I shared them with folks similarly diagnosed and was often told I should put them in a book. Once I reread them, I agreed. The book went to the printer in late May, and copies arrived in July. I like the way it turned out.

The Cancer Blog is my sixth book. Book sales were bleak in 2020 and only somewhat better this year. I have great hopes for 2022.

I went nowhere for 15 months, except Eugene and Yachats a few times. Then in July, my roommate from college days, Dr. Alice Ruzicka (aka Teeta), and I spent five days exploring the coast north of Yachats. Each year, I visit her in California, but not in 2020. We stayed in a historic Victorian B & B in Astoria for two nights and one night each in two of my favorite places—the Inn at Otter Crest at Cape Foulweather and The Adobe in Yachats. Teeta was doing a test drive of her brand-new Tesla, and I was her tour guide. We had a grand time!

Then in August, I put 2,800 miles on my car—my brother Harry and his wife Jayne, my sister Edna, and I all went to Montana to scatter my parents’ ashes on the old homestead where my dad grew up. That was my dad’s wish, and my mom wanted to be with my dad. We all met in Twin Falls, ID, and traveled together from there. We visited cousins, saw museums, did the scattering, and had a gravestone placed at the family cemetery on the ranch. The homestead portion of the ranch has been in the family since 1908. Then we left Montana and headed to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons for a few days each. The whole trip took a lot of planning and turned out fabulous. It was the trip of a lifetime!

Last of ashes being spread by my brother, Harry, at family cemetery. Notice temporary placeholder for gravestone. Two weeks later actual stone was placed there.

I have continued being a docent every Sunday at the Siuslaw Pioneer Museum—next year will be my 20th year as a docent there. And I am very involved with Backstreet Gallery. I am now the secretary and chief editor. My books are on sale at the gallery. I love being a part of this wonderful community of talented people.

After months of debating whether to have the Florence Festival of Books, we held it in September with Covid protocols in place. By allowing only 2./3 normal amount of tables, there was room for social distancing.

William Sullivan and in distance Bob Welch at their tables. My publisher, Bob Serra, is speaking with William Sullivan.

And to celebrate our 10th milestone FFOB, we had Bob Welch and William Sullivan as Friday afternoon panelists and they were terrific. And our Keynote Speaker was Melody Carlson, one of America’s most beloved and prolific romance writers with more than 200 books to her credit. She, too was terrific. We did not have large crowds, but everyone who came seemed to really enjoy themselves. I considered it a success.

My oh-so-lovable companion, Sir Groucho!

Sir Groucho, around 20 years old now, is doing all right, even though he’s lost his hearing.

We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Judy and Sir Groucho

About crossingsauthor

Judy Fleagle spent 22 years teaching 1st and 2nd grades and 21 years as editor/staff writer with Oregon Coast and Northwest Travel magazines.Since 2009, she has written five books: "Crossings: McCullough's Coastal Bridges," "The Crossings Guide to Oregon's Coastal Spans," "Around Florence," "Devil Cat and Other Colorful Animals I Have Known," and "The Oregon Coast Guide to the UNEXPECTED!!!."
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