Well, here we are: The 100th Weekend Assignment! It's hard to believe we've done so many of these and we're still going strong.
Happy anniversary to The Weekend Assignment. I think I've done about half of them.
Always mostly thought provoking. I do appreciate them and I hope you have enjoyed my answers and the little digs I've given you over the years. If you haven't, well, I expect you'd have written an email and complained by now.
So here's my contribution to the cause. Fun fictional facts from my own future history:
One step ahead of our creditors, SWMBO and I auctioned off the farm in Maine and moved to Louisiana in search of sun, sun and more sun. Naturally, the summer of 2006 was the hottest in recorded history, with record high temperatures experienced on 45 days during the months of July, August and September. I went to hospital three times for heat prostration during that same period.
Christmas Day 2006 found us hosting a pig roast and keg party for 20 of our newest friends. Shorts, Hawaiian shirts, straw hats and sandals were the costume of the day as I tended to the pigs and beans at the fire pit in 96 degree heat.
In 2007 I suffered a crippling MI after spending 36 hours trapped in a tree by flood waters caused by the near miss of Hurricane Emily II while visiting family in New Orleans (Former Mayor Ray Nagin was beheaded by an angry mob while I was in hospital when it was discovered he had diverted all of the funds provided by FEMA for replacement of levees damaged in 2005 by Hurricane Katrina). Only after 600 hours of physical rehabilitation was I deemed fit to return to living my life as I choose, fishing from the levee along the Mississippi River or from the shore of Lake Ponchartrain.
I collected over 600 pounds of “mud bugs” using just my canoe and a half dozen traps set out back in the swamps near my in-laws' place in Ponchatoula. They made good Christmas gifts for my old friends back up North. Although, a terrible accident with the dry ice they were packed in was the cause of death for my best friend, Dr. Doug, Soil Scientist and Anthropologist extraordinaire. Sorry about that, Nora. Seems he tried to see what the soil sample was in the bottom of the box, so he took the crawdads out and set them aside and stuck his whole head into the box for a closer look. 'Cause of Death' was something about asphyxiation due to oxygen displacement?
2008 sees my 37th novel in the Dirk Darkstone, Wizard-at-Large series published. This is significant only because it is also was the first and only one of my novels to “sell out” the advance.
My model railroad was chosen from over 45 entries to be featured in the Rotunda of the Capitol Building in Baton Rouge for the 2008 Holiday Season. “With it's depiction of the Port of New Orleans during the 1950's, the Governor found the entry to be particularly winsome, what with the bodies of hurricane victims trapped in the nets of the shrimp boats, the “weirdly fanciful” depiction of the assassination of Huey Long on the Ship Canal levees by former Mayor Ray Nagin and the special diorama of the Ku Klux Klan hosting a cross burning and weenie roast in the Projects next to the rail yard...
SWMBO finished her RN degree in 2009 after I twisted her arm (and other, unspecified portions of her anatomy). She graduated third in her class. I was fortunate to have been able to support us with the new guide service I'd established, offering tours to the handicapped in kayaks of the Atchafalaya Basin Swamp for only $500 for a two day tour. For a little bit extra ($1500), I guaranteed them safe passage home. They usually chose that option after seeing their first 16 foot alligator swim up next to their 12 foot sit-on-top open kayak. Little did they know it was my baby brother in scuba gear running a remote controlled cyborg ...
The move to Slidell, Louisiana was possibly the dumbest thing I've ever done. 2010's Category V Hurricane Katya flattened my trailer (and every one else's in the park) when it spawned fourteen Category 4 tornadoes in the space of 30 minutes. My German Shepherd Dog, Sparky, rescued me from the rubble, despite having suffered a debilitating and ultimately fatal collision with a splintered 2X12 while both were being spun at 200 MPH some 300 feet above the ground. With the Federal Government in receivership after the decimation wrought upon the Treasury by a decade of Republican control of the purse strings, I was reduced to seeking refuge, along with a million other refugees, in Tulsa, Oklahoma when martial law was declared by President Olympia Snowe. My wife was required to remain in Louisiana as “essential personnel” due to her being an RN and all.
My brother disappeared during Hurricane Katya. Oddly enough according to the Associated Press, his scuba gear and “Allie, the Cybotic Alligator” were discovered by the sexton in the steeple of the only methodist church in Jackson, Mississippi. His spear gun had penetrated the brass bell ... his Volkswagon Toureg was found on the deck of a freighter in Baton Rouge. The Bill of Lading specified a location in Patagonia, Argentina, as the final destination.
I returned to Slidell and my wife on April 1, 2011, our 13th wedding anniversary. It was a bittersweet homecoming, as I had lost both legs to Diabetic Peripheral Artery Disease due to the frost bite acquired during the worst winter on record that Oklahoma had ever seen. Bad year to have to live in a tent city. I succumbed to the vicissitudes of existence on this mortal coil on Labor Day after attempting to consume a whole watermelon on a dare. I'd have done it, too, but unbeknownst to me my brother-in-law spiked it with two liters of 100 proof vodka and I succumbed to acute alcohol poisoning...
And So It Goes...
Well, John, there you have it. Not a pretty picture, but then again, real life rarely is. Now, you be sure and create another hundred great Weekend Assignments and I'll see what I can do about answering some of them. Take good care of those two precious jewels in your life and do tell Athena that “Edvard Munch's painting, The Scream, is one of Uncle Wil's favorite paintings in the whole world.”
Here's to better days and smooth sailing,