I have been busier than a one-armed paper hanger this week because several of my colleagues, being smarter than I am, took days off (I was only off yesterday). The blog is always the first to suffer in such a situation.
It's a slow time of the year in any event and a time of seasonal good cheer, which puts a strain on those of us who tend to the cynical.
My children came home from New York City for Christmas and we spent a quiet day. The time-honored holiday routine unfolded in its usual leisurely way, the nice breakfast followed by the opening of presents and a long dog walk. As we had our dinner in the early evening, it occurred to us that this might be the last occasion when we would be sitting down together as a family of four for any holiday or indeed any future occasion.
In March, our daughter Allison is getting married and if she comes home next Christmas, which is far from certain, we might then be a family of five. There's nothing wrong with that - it is how life is supposed to unfold and really it's cause for celebration - but with that knowledge a little note of sadness sounds. We are moving on. The way we were will not be the way we will be, even if love abides always.
Tonight, more sadness. Along with many of my co-workers here at the PG, I will be going to pay my respects to Joe Fahy, the Post-Gazette reporter who died last Wednesday. The sub-heading on his obituary last Friday called him "Beloved, Award-Winning Post-Gazette Reporter."
Fellow cynics might have read that and doubted it - that's the problem with cynicism, it makes you doubt the real deal. I might have doubted it too had I not known the man.
Joe Fahy was the real deal. To meet him was to have the feeling of being in the presence of goodness. Rest in peace, Joe, as I have no doubt you will. Although your life was far from simple and uncomplicated, you exuded peace while you were among us. You were the gentlest of gentleman. Not for nothing were you called beloved in your obituary.
To all ye other merry gentlemen (and women), Happy New Year. Surely better times are coming.