Tag Archives: Kathy Anne

My journey is complete

Drum roll, please, for I am about to make an announcement.

The journey through darkness I have written about extensively on this blog since I lost my lovely bride, Kathy Anne, to cancer has for all intents reached its end.

So much has happened to my family and me since the worst day of our lives came crashing down on us. We lost the pillar of our family to glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer. She lost her valiant battle and left her family and friends in a profound state of grief.

I commenced my return back from the darkness by writing about that journey on High Plains Blogger. You know what? It helped me beyond measure. I found it within myself to share my grief with the whole world. The process filled me with hope that I could get through this period.

And I have done so!

I have told you about how I searched for light at the end of this journey. I am happy to report that the light on this day is far brighter than I ever imagined it would be immediately after Feb. 3, 2023 … which I have labeled as the worst day of my life.

Every one of those who comprise my worldwide network of friends and acquaintances have said the same thing: The pain never will go away. It will return without warning. You, though, will learn to manage it. You know what? They all were right! Here is a compilation of the entries I posted on High Plains Blogger.

Kathy Anne | Search Results | High Plains Blogger

I have learned that the overarching lesson in dealing with grief is to not let it consume me. It hasn’t. I am moving on with my life. Yes, I have some aspects of that new life to work on … but I can do so with a clear head and a heart that is not nearly as damaged as I reported earlier on this blog.

As one of my sons informed me, “If you can get something positive accomplished in spite of your grief, then you’re doing OK,”

There you have it … but I am happy to declare myself to be far better than OK. Kathy Anne would insist on it.

Blog nears milestone

Time for a little bragging, if that’s all right with you. If you object, too bad. I am going to boast … just a little.

High Plains Blogger will surpass in just two days a significant milestone. I am proud to announce it will mark 1,000 consecutive days in which I have posted something on the blog.

I know better than to brag about the quality of the posts. I’ve enjoyed many of them. I haven’t liked so much many others. As for whether all my posts have been welcomed, that depends on those who read them. The political posts have their friends and their foes. The friends generally are quiet; the foes pull the long knives out of their scabbards.

My blog took a dramatic turn in the past year. I have used this forum as a form of therapy for my broken heart. My dear bride, Kathy Anne, lost a fight with cancer and I have told you the story of the journey I undertook to emerge from the darkness. My chronicling of that journey has been well-received, and it has helped me find the light, which today shines brightly.

I will soldier on. Why do this? Well, it’s what I do.

For those who have stayed with me for all this time, I offer a humble and heartfelt thank you.

High Plains Blogger means a lot to me. I hope you get something from it as well.

Getting used to the traffic madness

Five years ago, my bride and I took a bit of a leap of faith, moving from our quiet neighborhood up yonder in Amarillo to the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.

Our reason was as straightforward as it gets. We wanted to be near our granddaughter. We also knew that the move would present some challenges for us, given that we had were deeply embedded in the Texas Panhandle, our neighborhood and the home we watched being built from scratch beginning in October 1996.

One of the main challenges would be traffic. We knew about the legendary D/FW traffic woes. The place is covered in freeway asphalt. You pay tolls to ride on some of them. We have plenty of “interstate highways,” starting with I-35 E and W, I-20, I-30 and various loops around both Dallas and Fort Worth.

I have figured out, though, what appears to be a formula for getting from place to place. As they say about a lot of aspects of life: Timing is everything.

I have learned to time my excursions according to normal traffic patterns. I am acutely aware that factors can change the flow of traffic in an instant. Accidents, construction, special events that draw more motorists onto our rights-of-way all have this way of disrupting the flow.

I stay the dickens off the highways during rush hours. I have found that Sunday, naturally, is the best day to travel.

You know, of course, that my wife, Kathy Anne, has passed away. I have become friends in recent months with someone with whom I like to spend time. She lives in a Fort Worth suburb. It’s a bit of a drive from Collin County … but far from overly daunting.

It’s all in the timing, man. We select our visitation based partly on what we believe will enable relatively hassle-free travel.

It’s just one of those aspects of living in a metro area comprising about 8 million human beings, many of whom compete for space on our public roads and highways.

I have told you about my adaptability. So … there you go!

Is Bigfoot here? Somewhere?

BROKEN BOW, Okla. — My sons and I arrived in this corner of the Sooner State and found a sign that I personally found to be quite unbelievable.

It informs us of the presence of Bigfoot. Yeah, that Bigfoot! The one featured in all those blurry pictures that no one seems to be able to capture with crystal clarity.

We’re here for a “guys getaway.” We’ve had a tough year and some months, and we started talking several months ago about getting away for a brief spell just to spend some time together and to, um, collect our thoughts and emotions in the wake of their mother’s sudden and shocking passing from cancer.

Bigfoot is nearby, or so the signage seems to suggest.

Why is that unbelievable to these eyes. Because I grew up in the real home of Bigfoot, where he really and truly would exist … were he not just a figure of someone’s bizarre imagination.

I was raised in the Pacific Northwest, where Bigfoot sightings have been reported since The Flood. Do you recall the jetliner hijacking in 1971 when D.B. Cooper made off with a couple hundred grand in cash? The flight originated in Portland; Cooper bailed out and has never been seen again.

My theory? He ran into Bigfoot somewhere north of the Columbia River and, well … you know how it might’ve turned out.

So, we’ll spend a couple of nights here in the southeast Oklahoma forest, hike a few trails, enjoy some fine dining, relax in a hot tub and enjoy some fellowship with each other.

Do I expect to see Bigfoot amble out of the woods? Not a chance … but I’ll keep my doubt of his existence here more or less to myself.

Time is like a rocket

NUREMBERG, Germany — The past two weeks have flown by like a rocket shot into space.

But yet they have arguably among the best two weeks I’ve ever spent. I spent them in Bavaria, in southern Germany.

My vacation came from an invitation delivered by friends who thought when they extended it that I needed some time away from the house in Texas to clear my head. They were right. What they — or I — didn’t anticipate is the emotional distance I have traveled since losing my bride Kathy Anne to cancer.

Even though the time I spent with Martin, Alena and their three precious children was time well-spent, it wasn’t as urgent as it was when the invitation came my way.

However, my two-week stay in Germany is about to come to a conclusion. I will leave here fulfilled and enriched by their friendship, their hospitality and their love.

I am going home to a new life that is still under construction, but it is taking on a definite form. My friends all tell me they see a difference in me these days. Indeed, I am able to say I am ‘good,” which I couldn’t bring myself to say in the immediate aftermath of our loss.

That was then. And now? I awake each morning looking forward to the days that lie ahead.

I needed the time away to reconnect with these dear friends. They promised to shower me with love. They truly delivered the goods. It is time to go home.

Journey nears its end

NUREMBERG, Germany — My journey to Europe is nearing its conclusion. Very soon, I will be boarding a jet bound for home.

To be honest, I didn’t realize how much I needed the time away until after I arrived. What spurred the realization? Likely it was my friends who greeted me outside of baggage claim at Nuremberg’s international airport.

I have known Martin for 14 years; his wife Alena for about eight. I brought my bride, Kathy Anne, to Germany in 2016 to meet them both for the first time. In 2016, our friends had two sons and Alena was pregnant with their daughter during that visit.

They said something profound to me almost immediately upon my arrival. It was that I should not think of myself as a “guest” in their home, but as a “member of the family.” That was their way of telling me that anything I wanted or needed was mine for the taking inside their home.

They live in a peaceful village outside of Nuremberg. Weitersdorf is among many such villages scattered across this lovely landscape. I have gone without TV, very little “talk radio,” and the only newspaper I have read is the international edition of the New York Times; I don’t read German … you know?

We have talked American politics from time to time during my visit with them. We even have discussed German politics, too. Martin isn’t quite sure about the description I attached to former Chancellor Angela Merkel, whom I described as the “real leader of the Free World” during her time in public office.

I have informed them both that I am crafting a new life at home. My days are filling up with activity. I have made many new friends, one of whom stands out; there likely will be more to say about that relationship later.

My time away from the humdrum of North Texas, though, was time well-spent. Soon it’ll be back to the grind, which I am still seeking to define. I will be ready for whatever awaits.

So proud, but then again …

NUREMBERG, Germany — My journey abroad is beginning to commence to come to an end. I only have a couple more nights in Bavaria before I board a jet for home.

I want to stipulate two critical points.

One is that I am a true-blue American patriot who served his country in war, who pays his taxes without bitching about it and who salutes the flag whenever it flies in front of me.

I also know my country if far from perfect and my aim always in criticizing public policy decisions is to get policymakers to do better.

The other critical point is that whenever I travel to non-English-speaking places around the world, I am a bit self-conscious over my inability to communicate in their language, forcing them to do so in mine. I get that English is the international language of commerce and transportation. But still …

My trip to Germany has been eventful and full of new experiences. I came back to Nuremberg to catch up with two dear friends, a husband and wife who greeted my bride and me in 2016 when we came here the first time. Kathy Anne is gone now and my return was tinged just a bit with sadness. As I told my friends, though, I am moving on with my life just as my wife insisted I do. They get it.

I have seen once more how Europeans have developed rail travel almost to an art form. I have learned how they have crafted a sustainable energy policy that relies almost exclusively on renewable sources of energy. I also have learned how Germans encourage young people to serve their country in a voluntary public service capacity before embarking on their own careers. And … I have learned that higher education in Germany is free.

We don’t do everything perfectly in the country of my birth. A globalist view of our national development seemingly would require us to examine how other nations in our shrinking world handle their everyday affairs. Why not, then, take a peek?

My trip abroad is nearing its end. I will take back many more cherished memories of my time here … and also with fuel for thought that all of us at least should consider.

The hunt continues

NUREMBERG, Germany — Very soon, my friend and I are going to head toward the Czech Republic border in search for the perfect Greek pastry.

It will have to be perfect, although it will be difficult to ascertain whether it reaches the level of perfection set by my late bride, Kathy Anne.

Here’s the story in brief.

Kathy Anne and I were married in 1971 and she joined my family that included my surviving grandmother … whom we called “Yiayia.” My grandmother made a particular Greek dessert that Kathy Anne swore melted in her mouth. It is called kourabiedes; it is a cookie covered in powdered sugar.

Kathy Anne and I traveled twice together to Greece. We tried to find a cookie that matched Yiayia’s creation. “Not even close,” Kathy Anne would say.

My pal Martin tells me this particular bakery in the Czech Republic makes some delectable desserts. We shall find out if they measure up to the greatness that came from Yiayia’s kitchen.

My trick knee tells me Kathy Anne would remain unimpressed.

932 days … and counting

This isn’t a boastful post, but it is one that calls attention to a streak I’ve enjoyed for a very long time.

For 932 consecutive days I have posted something on High Plains Blogger that might be of some interest to someone out there.

High Plains Blogger is taking a lengthy airplane right Tuesday morning, which might — perhaps, maybe — put that streak in some jeopardy. I will work to ensure it remains intact.

I am going to Nuremberg, Germany for two weeks. I will be visiting dear friends who invited me back there when they got word of my bride’s passing way. I’m taking them up on their generous hospitality.

My hope is that we don’t get too gabby and I forget to post something within a particular calendar day.

The gentleman who is hosting me is a journalist, so he knows about my deadline pressure. His wife works for the government, so she knows, too. They are wonderful friends and are the parents of three fabulous children, who have grown significantly — of course — since the previous time I was there in 2016 with Kathy Anne.

I do know this: my bride would insist I keep the streak alive.

So … I will.

Memoir work ramps up

Because I have been making command decisions left and right, here’s another one for you to ponder.

I have decided to recommit to finishing a piece of work I’ve been toiling over for many years, a memoir I am writing for my family.

The memoir was my beloved bride’s idea. Kathy Anne told me I needed to memorialize the people and events in my career and give the finished product to our sons and their families. I began work on it some time back.

This week I added two more entries noting two individuals I whose paths I crossed while working as a print journalist for nearly 37 years. Then this morning, I took another step toward organizing my work.

I looked at the list of people and events I had penciled in and noted all those I had entered into my draft memoir. I counted those entries and learned that, by golly, I am about two-thirds of the way through my list.

Then again, more names pop into my noggin, usually without warning. So, I will add them, too, to the lengthy list of famous and infamous individuals I have been blessed or cursed to meet along the way.

Some of my friends have asked me if I intend to publish it. Hmm. I have thought about it and to be honest, I haven’t yet decided. There well could be enough text to fill a small paperback if I choose to go that route.

I had a joyous ride pursuing my craft. When Kathy Anne made the pitch to write it all down, I didn’t need persuading. I thought, “You know, I have met some fascinating individuals and the circumstances of those encounters themselves are worth remembering.”

I’m not entirely sure why I am sharing this with you. Maybe it’s my way of revealing how I plan to spend my time re-crafting my life into something entirely brand new.

I do want to share the ups and maybe even some of the downs I encountered while doing something I truly loved doing.

Wish me well …. please.