I just wanted to share something, that in its own way, is the most special of everything that's happened this year, insofar as writing is concerned (and if you've been reading this blog, you'll know that this year has already been quite special).
Sister Barb and brother-in-law Chuck had invited all of us siblings over for dinner on Sunday. It was a no-brainer to attend. Barb puts on quite a spread, and Chuck loves his wine even more than I do. Not to mention that when we all get together it's a case of laughing until your sides ache. Seriously. So it promised to be an enjoyable evening. Consequently 4:30 PM on Sunday saw Amber and I at their front door (4:30, Barb informed me, was when cocktails would be served) only to find that everyone had arrived before us - sister Betty and brother-in-law Ken, and brother Joel and sister-in-law Pat (brother Lloyd and sister-in-law Linda, way out in Edmonton, could not attend). Whereupon I discovered that, no sooner had greetings been exchanged than I found a flute of Chuck's prized (and jealously hoarded) champagne thrust in my hand, and with all my family gathered 'round, Chuck proposed a toast to the success of Charlie Smithers, if you please. I was really quite shocked, and if memory serves, left totally speechless. As far as recognition goes, if any of you out there are the baby of your family, you'll know what I mean, even more than anyone else, when I say that I was deeply touched. The respect of your peers is one thing, but the respect of your older siblings is quite another, and trumps, virtually, anything else.
Later I did another reading (Chuck had called the night before, asking if I would do one, but the penny never dropped in what I jokingly refer to as my brain). Although it was well-received, I can't say that it was the same success as my first reading. Outside of the fact that I had, perhaps, fifteen minutes to prepare, several other toasts had been drunk along the way, so, no, it didn't go quite as smoothly as it did at McNally Robinson, but it was, I think, far more satisfactory.
In case you were wondering, I didn't drive home that night, and I read the first seven pages of 'Sean's Lament', a rather lengthy novella that you won't have heard of, being unpublished, but one which both Amber and I are quite partial to.