As I have done the last few years, I’m celebrating my birthday, which is June 9, all month long, starting today. Unlike last year, where I celebrated big for my 50th birthday with a few trips here and there throughout the month, including a weekend trip with my wife to wineries on Seneca Lake in upstate New York, this year understandably I’m keeping the celebration low-key. We only have one trip planned: next Tuesday, on my actual birthday, to visit with family about 60 miles away since the counties in Pennsylvania we live in have gone “green.” Of course, we’ll be practicing social distancing, but it still will be good to see them.
Other than that, I am off four days from work this coming weekend, with at least for June the library where I work being closed on Sundays and Mondays for quarantining items and cleaning of the building. I took Tuesday as a vacation day and just have Saturday off. We’re doing curbside pickup for now, if you’re wondering.
Other than that, for the weekend, I’m going to give myself a goal of finishing the All Creatures Great and Small series by James Herriot that I’ve been reading the last few years. The last book in the series, at least in the American version, is Every Living Thing.
Throughout the month, I plan on continuing my phone-free Sundays. I also will be continuing to read the second volume of two of the complete Sherlock Holmes novels and short stories. Yesterday I finished the collection, His Last Bow, and now only have The Case-book of Sherlock Holmes left.
In terms of chronology in the canon, the short story “His Last Bow” is the last appearance of Sherlock Holmes and is after he is retired and living in the country. I think is a fitting end for Holmes, especially as the story is at the cusp of World War I and with Conan Doyle giving the detective perhaps the best lines of the canon, as he says to Watson:
“There’s an east wind coming…such a wind as never blew on England yet. It will be cold and bitter, Watson, and a good many of us may wither…But it’s God’s own wind none the less, and a cleaner, better, stronger land will lie in the sunshine when the storm has cleared.”
As for today, it is the end of my wife’s work week and the end of my weekend. So we’re keeping it chill here, as I’m extending my phone-free Sunday, and my wife is joining me. Our only exception is Scrabble Go. And even though we’re not going to wine country in New York this month, there will be wine, including today.
So I’ll leave with this ditty in celebration of wine: