• Last modified 922 days ago (Jan. 12, 2022)


Another Day in the Country

Critic’s choice: Top 5?

© Another Day in the Country

I know, usually it’s the top 10 things that they list when doing a recap of the previous year. It’s the top 10 movies, the top 10 books, the top 10 best TV shows, the top 10 albums, etc.

However, I don’t think I can conjure up 10 things, landmark events, during this past year. 

Listing — reminding ourselves of what we’ve experienced — is a good exercise, especially if we keep the list positive and full of gratitude for another memorable space of time that we’ve all inhabited in this beautiful spinning planet.

So let’s get started! When I read about albums of 2021, I realized that I hadn’t heard a single one of them. I was equally in the dark when it came to the top 10 songs but I did recognize one performer’s name: Taylor Swift.

Going on to top 10 movies, I’d heard of a couple, read the reviews, and had actually wanted to see one of them, but hadn’t seen a single one.

“How out of touch can you be, Pat Wick,” I said to myself.

“Blame it on COVID,” came the rejoinder.

The top 10 television shows scored a couple of listens from me.

I’d seen the show “Succession” and liked it — partly because I was so grateful that I didn’t have their problems.

I also saw “White Lotus,” which attempted to be relevant to our current times, mirroring our modern dilemmas with an old, long-standing problem: the generation gap. Once again I empathized while being grateful that my children are grown.

I’d read two of the top five books but would never have recommended them to a friend for reading, which got me to thinking about what books or movies I would rate in my top categories.

My top read of the year was actually a book on Audible that was recommended to me by my cousin Lois.

You know how a book will take you to a world apart. It can be a different country or a different era, but for the length of the book (if it’s good) you’ll have taken a journey outside of your everyday life.

The book, “Cutting for Stone,” by Abraham Verghese, did that for me. It’s a big book, a long book, almost 24 hours of listening time.

I checked it out of the library, held it in my hands after having heard the story read by a wonderful narrator with a charming Indian accent, and wondered if I’d first encountered the printed version of the book, would I have persevered and read it?

Perhaps. Hearing it read was delightful, and I still listen to portions of it over and over, just to be transported once again to another place and time.

My top experience of the past year has got to be the road trip that I ventured upon with my daughter’s family. We covered several thousand miles of America — some I’d already seen and some that I hadn’t.

It was the first time that we’d tried something like this, and after it was over we all rated it as an outstanding success. I didn’t think it would ever happen and, if it did, I gave it a one in a million chance to succeed. But surprise, surprise, we did it. 

Of the myriad shows available to watch on television, I think I’ve enjoyed “The Great American Baking Show” as much as any, waiting expectantly for the next current show to appear.

It even inspired my sister to make her first pavlova — a delightful, fruity, melt-in-your-mouth treat covered in whipped cream. 

The Artful Eye Show that we have every May at Centre Elementary, showcasing the art of children I teach there, is a highlight for me each year.

We missed it in person during the spring that COVID hit in 2020 but were able to do it in 2021. That was memorable. 

Gathering 18 eggs at one time from my very own hens was a memorable occasion.

Having only a handful of hens, it’s my normal experience to gather a handful of eggs. But 18? With a bigger flock comes more work and a bigger dividend. More than a dozen eggs to gather at one shot? That was something to remember. Such bounty. Great abundance. 

Make another Pavlova, Jess!

I must remember that abundance when now, in cold winter days, I’m finding only a couple of eggs every day.

Yesterday it was one blue egg and one brown egg nestled in the hay of the nest box. The hens are on vacation, restoring their souls, I like to imagine, for an outburst of spring activity.

I waited this year for Christmas cards to start arriving in my mailbox out by the road. They were slow in coming. And then I was in the air flying to California and back again.

On my return trip I was rerouted all over the Midwest, it seemed, to get me back to Wichita, where a snowstorm was descending.

I arrived back in Ramona well after midnight as the snow was still falling, thankful to be returning to my cozy, warm cottage; my old cat, who had missed me; and my silly hens snoozing in the henhouse. 

It was a new year in the country, and soon another day would be dawning. It was good to be back home!

Last modified Jan. 12, 2022