Happy New Year From An Outer Banks McMansion
If it hadn’t been for a marathon Monopoly game lasting more than five hours on New Year’s Eve afternoon, I’d have a splendid piece of writing here.
Something pithy, perhaps. Or sentimental. A sweeping look back at 2017, for instance. The highs - the stock market. The lows - the final episode of The Walking Dead. Or an amusing list of resolutions that I will never keep.
Maybe I would have written something philosophical about how - despite the constant threat of newspaper layoffs - I never thought last year would end with me leaving The Virginian-Pilot.
But there was no time to write such a piece. As it happens, I’m in one of those rental McMansions on the Outer Banks, wrapping up a crazy three-day celebration with some of my closest friends and family.
This is the first time I’ve had a few minutes alone since Friday. I’m kneeling on one of the seven bedroom floors to write this, my tablet perched on the king-sized bed. (These sprawling vacation houses have jacuzzis, hot tubs and pool tables but no desks. Wonder why.)
The genesis of this orgy of eating, drinking, dancing and intensely competitive board games? The 90th birthday of an extraordinary man - an-honest-to-God rocket scientist - who was a surrogate father to my husband, a dear friend to me and a beloved adopted grandfather to my kids after their own granddads died back in the 1990s.
Born in 1928, this is one birthday boy who loves technology. Stop in at his OBX home where he moved a few years ago, and you’ll find him on his iPad or joining one of his sons as they send a drone into the sky.
He’s a renaissance man, a gentleman, and a widower who doesn’t lack for female company. A year or so after his beloved wife died, he confided this to me:
“Being alone sucks.”
I’d tell you more, but my housemates and the guest of honor are on their way back to ring in the New Year. About 30 of us tonight, ranging in age from 8 months to 90.
So my New Year’s wish for all of you: May you all have happy days like these with those you love in 2018.