I’m shamelessly stealing this idea from another blog. I’m going to share the year’s five most popular posts (according the the stats provided by WordPress), and then I’m going to share five of my personal favorites (difficult to do because, frankly, I am a fan of my own writing, and I’ve already wasted way too much time today re-reading posts).
1. And This Is Why They Call It Gallaher View
How fitting that my top post should be about a graveyard, a subject to which I devoted many hours this year. This particular post owes its popularity to the enthusiasm of the wonderful Facebook group, “You Know You Are from Knoxville If . . .” which never fails to suck me in whenever I risk visiting.
“Entering a new graveyard is always a little adventure. There are almost always surprises, stories, mysteries.”
2. Rocky Hill Baptist Cemetery: Appearances Are Deceiving
The number two post owes its page views, unfortunately, to a misunderstanding by someone who was offended by what I wrote. Ah, the price of fame. 🙂 Seriously, I hate to hurt anyone’s feelings but I was gratified that most people who read what I had written did not see it that way.
3. Songs of Innocence and of Experience
I wrote this in 2011 and I have no idea why so many people are still reading it–or clicking on it, at any rate. Rereading it today, though, it seems almost prescient, given that it was written shortly before our family passed through the literal flames of experience.
“So in my paper I talked about innocence, experience, and wisdom in Blake’s poetry, in William Wordsworth’s Prelude, in Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles, and in Charles Dickens’s David Copperfield. I defended it successfully, and I got that Honors degree. Did I understand what I was writing about? Probably not.”
4. The Living and the Dead
This post was written in response to the furor over #2 above. In it I talk about WHY I write about cemeteries, and how I approach the task.
“If I’m in a smaller cemetery, I try to read every gravestone. I think about the people there, wonder about them. Sometimes, especially if they are babies, I pray for them or even talk to them. I tell them that today, even if only today, they are remembered.”
5. The Terrifying Teens
This is another old post–from 2010!–that is still very close to my heart, so I’m glad it’s being read. After the mid-point of February, I’ll be down to just one teenager! I had three when this was written. Making it through their teen years was even harder than I thought it would be when I wrote this.
“I don’t think teenagers are terrible at all–I enjoy mine very much; it’s exciting to see the beginnings of the adults they are slowly on their way to becoming. But I don’t look too hard for the light at the end of the parenting tunnel for fear that it may be an oncoming train.”
I’m only going to pick from ones I posted this year. I tried to pick a variety of representative posts. Another time perhaps I’ll do a roundup of my favorites of all time.
1. Obamacare: My Latest Update
I wrote a lot of posts about Obamacare this year and you’ll be hearing more about it this year. I’m proud of these posts which are relevant and also personal, and which I realize open me up to some judgment and criticism.
“There shouldn’t be a set of assumptions about people who are on TennCare which influences the care they receive. There shouldn’t be different levels of care for people who have insurance and those who don’t. But that was our reality, and Obamacare has changed that for our family.”
2. Cuttin’ Footloose
I love this short story of the memories and feelings a favorite movie can evoke.
“Maybe it wasn’t the movie itself. Maybe it was just the joy of being young and with close friends, out alone at night under our own steam, having friends who were driving and a couple who even had their own cars. But for me the way I felt that night is inextricably linked to the movie and always will be. I felt . . . empowered. Like I could do anything. Like life was good and all of it was ahead of me (that part at least was true).”
3. Back Home Again
This is the third of a three part series on the college reunion I attended this year–my 25th. I love Georgetown.
“The Eucharist is the source and the summit of all that we do as Catholics, and the Reunion Mass is the summit of the weekend for me. I worry sometimes at the naysayers who proclaim Georgetown is not “Catholic enough,” until I come back and see and feel how very Catholic it is.”
4. Forty Years of Yo-Yo Dieting
This was very personal and hard to write, and I shared it as part of my writing on my journey toward being healthier.
“What that first diet was I don’t remember . . . Some of them worked better than others, but I never lost ALL the weight. I never weighed the magic number the weight tables told me I should.”
5. Dust to Dust
This was the beginning of my cemetery posts. I’ve enjoyed visiting them, photographing them, learning about them, and sharing them with my readers. Expect many more of these posts in the new year.
“See, as long as your name remains visible on a stone, and as long as someone comes by to read the names, and wonder about the people who bore them, how they lived, why they died–you are still a part, albeit a small one, of the living world. It’s important to me, that these dead people be remembered. That the living remember where we come from.”
If you enjoyed this sampling of posts above, please feel free to share this with anyone else you think might enjoy this blog. Thank you for reading and special thanks to those who take the time to comment. Happy New Year!