Christmas Update - 2015

What we have been doing this year.

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 Ancestry.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.