Friday, December 31, 2010
Goodbye Weird, Wacky 2010
The TV folks spent most of their time this evening looking back at the wild and woolly year. Floods and tornadoes and earthquakes vied for attention with terrorists, spies who were never out in the cold but came in anyway, and, oh yes, Obamacare. Nashville had its share of water problems with a 1000-year flood in May. The other most-talked-about event was the election that considerably altered the landscape. For us in Tennessee, it brought a Republican governor, a Republican majority in the U.S. Congress (we already had two Republican senators), and a State Legislature with the largest Republican membership in history.
The weather curse caught me the following month, however, when I was invited to talk about my new book to the Nashville City Club Book Club. The threat of nasty weather kept the members at home while I had a nice dinner with the club president and his son.
I suppose the most significant event for me this year was turning 85 in November. I don't bemoan old age the way a lot of my contemporaries do, plus many of those not as long in the tooth as me. I think it's pretty cool to still be sailing along singing a song. Actually, I don't do much singing anymore. My one problem is a cough that has left my voice sounding like somebody with terminal laryngitis.
My most shocking accomplishment, maybe weird would work here, came earlier this week. In A Sporting Murder, one of the characters talks about gambling a few times with the murder victim at Harrah's casino on the Ohio River at Metropolis, IL. Greg McKenzie thinks:
"Jill and I made that trek up I-24 to the Illinois side of the river occasionally. We looked on it as a recreational thing and set a fairly modest limit for what we’d spend. Sometimes we came back winners. Most of the time we didn’t."
That was wife Sarah and my personal experience. This time we took our usual $400, realizing we might come back empty handed, but hoping otherwise. We had two free nights in the hotel and coupons for free meals. After day one, Sarah was about ready to pack it in, but I assured her I would win it all back (did I mention I'm an incurable optimist?).
The guy who came to pay me off and reset the machine said it hadn't increased much since the last jackpot. We went and played some other slots, feeling much better though not winning a lot. Later, as we made our way back to the entrance, Sarah said, "Let's play these Blazing 7's again." Having never hit a jackpot before, I was sure my luck had been depleted. But I sat beside her at the same machine.
Before I had hardly spun the reels 10 times, up came three Blazing 777's and the JACKPOT sign flashed again. It was still paltry compared to what you'd get on a dollar machine, but to a guy whose luck had always been lousy at best, it was quite a thrill.
So I'm looking forward to 2011 with a new lease on luck. Meanwhile, I'll keep writing mysteries and plugging along as usual, weird or no.