Christmas Update - 2015

What we have been doing this year.

Published: 16 December 2015


Giles Cartoon
I bet the Japs and Ger­mans don’t have to suf­fer two weeks’ Christ­mas hol­i­day wheth­er they want it or not

Off On Hol­i­day

It’s fore­cast to be a pleas­ant 70ºF/20ºC here most of this and next week. So, our usu­al rationale of escap­ing the NOVA damp and cold’ doesn’t wash this time. Nev­er­the­less we are off down to Isle of Palms, South Car­o­lina later this week for Christ­mas and New Year. It is a coastal sub­urb of the beau­ti­ful his­tor­ic city of Char­le­ston so we don’t need to trump up a reas­on for going. Not only that, but huge beaches where dogs are wel­come to run leash free for long peri­ods every day too. It’s a 520 mile drive for us straight down I95 for all but the last hour.

So, before we leave, we would like to take this oppor­tun­ity to wish friends, fam­ily and col­leagues a Merry Christ­mas and a healthy and wealthy New Year. We can also bring you up to date with what has been going on with us this year.

Hip Hip Hoo­ray

Per­sist­ent pain in my right hip led to a vis­it to an ortho­pedic con­sult­ant last Decem­ber (2014). I left with an appoint­ment for him to do a total hip replace­ment op five weeks later. Glad that there wasn’t a long wait­ing list, bet­ter to get on with it.

It was still dark on the Op day (2 Feb) when we arrived at the clin­ic. The staff pro­cessed me effi­ciently, wheel­ing me in to the pre-op with­in just a few minutes. Next thing I remem­ber, was com­ing around with the new joint, in time for lunch. They had me up and walk­ing around in the after­noon and let me go the next morn­ing.

Recov­ery

In the fol­low­ing days, a vis­it­ing physio­ther­ap­ist ensured steady pro­gress back to mobil­ity.

  • She encour­aged me to dis­card the walk­ing stick as soon as I felt able to do without it. Almost right away.
  • After about a week, I walked a mile and a half without dis­com­fort and resumed dog walk­ing duties soon after­wards.
  • At the 2½ week stage the physio cleared me to drive. The first driv­ing task was to col­lect a new SUV from the deal­er­ship and drive it the 25 miles home in near white out con­di­tions as a record break­ing bliz­zard raged across the area all after­noon.

Super­man?

The remark­able pro­gress was due to the extraordin­ary skill of the sur­geon and all the staff at the Ander­son Clin­ic. My con­tri­bu­tion was to do as I was bid by them. Years of reg­u­lar daily dog walk­ing along the trails around here likely played a part too as did hav­ing shed about 50 lbs a couple of years ago and kept it off.

Ances­try

I had nev­er been too curi­ous about my ancest­ors until recently. Most of what I knew was derived from snip­pets that my Ma provided us. It was mostly wrong.

On open­ing an account with Ances​try​.com I quickly found that a cous­in in Texas had put togeth­er her whole fam­ily tree back to the Middle Ages. It had the lin­eage on my Father’s side all the way back to the set­tlers who came over from England in the early 1600s and bey­ond. Until then, I had assumed that the Hast­ings were Scotch Irish (Ulster Scots) who would have crossed the Atlantic around 1750.

US Civil War

Captain Jo Hezekiah Hastings, 17 Regiment, Tennessee Infantry
Cap­tain Jo Hezeki­ah Hast­ings
17 Regi­ment, Ten­ness­ee Infantry

I come from a long line of Joseph Hast­ings, I dis­covered. Most not­able is 3-times-Great Uncle 2Lt Joseph Hezeki­ah Hast­ings of 17th Infantry Regi­ment of Ten­ness­ee. Taken pris­on­er by the Uni­on Army dur­ing their Siege of Peters­burg in 1864, he was to became one of the Immor­tal 600’. They were a band of Con­fed­er­ate Officers ordered at the highest Fed­er­al level to be human shields by being con­fined in a stock­ade in front of the Uni­on artil­lery besieging Char­le­ston. They were also delib­er­ately starved. They endured this bru­tal treat­ment for more than 3 months. It was said to be in retali­ation for ill treat­ment of Uni­on POW by their Con­fed­er­ate captors. Many of the Immor­tal 600’ died as a res­ult of the treat­ment and the sur­viv­ors sup­por­ted and sus­tained each oth­er through the ordeal. They became fam­ous and a sym­bol of dogged res­ist­ance through­out the Post Bel­lum South.

My Grandmother’s Grand­father, Private Wil­li­am Sims, served with the 19th Texas Cav­alry Regi­ment and per­ished at the Siege of Vicks­burg. Another 3-times-Great Uncle, also from Ten­ness­ee, was killed at the Battle of the Wil­der­ness in Vir­ginia fight­ing with Robert E Lee. There were oth­ers of course but I wasn’t able to find any ancest­ors who were on the Uni­on side. Farther back in time though, sev­er­al of my ancest­ors were on the win­ning side in the Revolu­tion­ary War.

Birth­days

I turned 70 on 4 August. I enjoyed shar­ing that birth­day date with the Queen Mother when she was alive. These days I have to share it with Obama. Bum­mer!.

Travel

I haven’t traveled any­place this year, not even into adja­cent Maryland, I think. Karen’s job on the oth­er hand has taken her to Aus­tralia for a week. She man­aged to get a couple of days off to go and vis­it Douglas and Louise in Coffs Har­bour, NSW while she was there. She travels widely in the US and made mul­tiple trips to the West Coast. She cer­tainly racks up the Air Miles, that girl.