I'm still in pain...even if it's not the physical kind.
First and foremost, I'm grieving the loss of a friend from my Adult Children of Alcoholics days, Rosemary "Billi" Whelton (12-24-1944/7-21-2016), who went on to become a Great Plains Ragtime Society member.
I really loved Billi's sense of humor...and her generosity.
Next, I'm hurting inside over the consequences of a corporate, job-related decision. (I'll just leave it at that.)
And I'm still unhappy about how this year's Ragtime to Riches Festival went. Billi didn't get to attend it, because she spent the bulk of 2016 in hospice after being diagnosed with the cancer that ultimately cost the former smoker and recovering alcoholic her life.
On the run-up to R to R 12.0 (in fact, an hour before the event's workshop got started), I took heat over missing this year's World Championship Old-Time Piano Playing Contest and Festival...the first one ever held in Mississippi after the previous 41 took place in Illinois.
My absence from this year's Memorial Day weekend get-together was labeled a "disappointment."
IT DOESN'T MAKE A DIFFERENCE THAT, FOUR MONTHS AGO, I SENT AN EMAIL ANNOUNCING MY IMPENDING ABSENCE TO THE VERY PERSON WHO WENT ON TO CALL MY NO-SHOW A "DISAPPOINTMENT!"
I emailed several other OTPP wheelers-dealers to tell them I couldn't make the trip this year.
To repeat: I'm to undergo cataract surgery in my left eye later this year (or early in 2017).
Before the surgery can begin, I need to pay the $165 I owe for the work done on that same left eye (12-14-2015) to repair its retina...and cough up an additional $1,500 before the clinic that did the retina work can touch my left eyeball again.
Yes, I've got health insurance through the place where I work...but it's useless in a case such as this.
It takes at least two weeks for people to recover from cataract surgery. I've got two weeks- ten working days- left here in 2016 to use as paid vacation time.
Because of the impending surgery, this year's personal paid vacation time is spoken and accounted for.
All of this on top of the University of Mississippi charging more than the Old-Time Music Preservation Association (the previous OTPP steward group) did not only to attend the contest, but also to enter its events.
Here's my question for those who've criticized my decision not to try to come to Oxford, MS, for OTPP 42.0:
GIVEN WHAT'S CURRENTLY ON MY PLATE, WHAT THE HELL WAS I SUPPOSED TO DO??!!#@*?
You tell me.