First came January, and the year loomed fresh and new. For the first time in years, we didn’t make a list of New Year’s resolutions. We intended to, but it just never happened. It still hasn’t.
I was doing well in my efforts to reduce my sweet tea intake and enjoying my new Roomba. I still am.
And then it was February, and my family and I went to see the Death by Natural Causes exhibit at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. I was fascinated by tales of arsenic, radium, ergot and paint; and I wondered at a world where poison seeped into the very fabric of a person’s life. Indeed, I spent three hours wandering through that exhibit, but it was not enough. I wanted to know more.
I read “Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women” by Kate Moore and “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory” by Caitlin Doughty as a result of that excursion, and I just bought “The Poison Squad: One Chemist’s Single-Minded Crusade for Food Safety at the Turn of the Twentieth Century” by Deborah Blum as well.
That was the most influential exhibit I’ve ever seen, and I hope to encounter more of that caliber in the future.
And then it was March, and I handed the car keys to my teenage daughter and asked her if she felt like driving down I-10 to the movie theater to watch “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World.” It was the first time I’d allowed my daughter to get on the interstate with me since receiving her permit. That night will always be remembered as the night courage triumphed over my fear; my trust in God lighting up the darkness not only for me, but for my daughter.
And then it was April, and we returned to Minute Maid Park to watch our beloved Astros begin what has been a record-breaking season. Then my daughter competed at the UIL State Theatrical Design Contest and placed sixth in Individual Design: Makeup Design.
And then it was May, and school came to an end as we prepared for our western vacation.
And then it was June, and we departed for Arizona, Nevada and California. I returned to my love, Yosemite, and visited the Grand Canyon and Death Valley National Park along the way.
And then it was July, and my daughter got her driver’s license on the third. I told her it was her own Independence Day.
The next day, a masterpiece entitled “Stranger Things 3” debuted on Netflix.
Later that month, we attended our biennial family reunion in Hallettsville, where I won a copy of my great-grandparents’ marriage certificate, composed in Czech, at the silent auction.
And then it was August, and I learned of a close childhood friend’s death, which struck me like an arrow through the heart. I celebrated a birthday milestone and then mourned the death of my uncle. School resumed.
And then it was September, and we gathered to celebrate my uncle’s life. My daughter attended the Texas Educational Theatre Association TheatreFest and placed first in two film categories, along with classmates. She also received an honorable mention for the work she submitted at UIL earlier this year. I am very proud of her and her friends and I am so happy to see their hard work recognized and rewarded.
And now it is October, and soon we will be watching the Astros close out an outstanding season.
And then it shall be November, and then December.
And then, just like that, the year 2000 will be 20 years past.
Stacy Parent is a lifelong resident of Baytown.