So I am 30-some hits away from the 11,000 visitors mark -- and I have not blogged about a thing since June.
Just think if I had actually written something in the past six months! So why haven't I?
Well, it all started - or ended, I guess is the better word -- when Jeff, my wonderful, longtime neighbor, and biggest blog fan, passed away unexpectedly not too long after my last post celebrating my 10,000th visitor to The Home Stretch.
Jeff's passing was such a horrible shock -- he was only 49 -- and his death leaves such a hole in all our lives.
Jeff had recently commented to me that he wanted so much to be my 10,000th visitor, that he had been visiting The Home Stretch more often than usual hoping he'd be that special guy to make that mark, and he had congratulated me on my "achievement".
That meant more to me than he could have ever known, because of all my friends who had read The Home Stretch and endured my never-ending whining about midlife malaise, etc, he was the last person I ever expected to be a regular reader. I mean, he was a GUY. A DAD. I have always written about GIRL stuff. MOM stuff. And he was an avid sports fan, and I never wrote about sports. And he was civic-minded, and hard-working and dedicated to his family...it amazed me that he took the time to peruse my cyber penning.
Yet, whenever I hadn't blogged for a few days, he would see me outside, in my yard and take the time to rib me about being a slacker. He'd bemoan the fact that he had stopped by The Home Stretch to see what was happenin' and there was ZILCH.
I'd give him some excuse for my blogger's block, and he'd say, "Well, get writing! Let's go!"
Or he'd engage me in a conversation about my last blog topic, and I would be inspired to keep writing.
Jeff was particularly enjoying my blogging about my quest to meet Justin Hayward of The Moody Blues when they were to perform in Des Moines on June 29, the day after I was to return from my class reunion trip to Cincinnati. I had purchased special "meet and greet tickets" for the concert as part of Iowa Public Television's on-air fundraiser. And there were many other avid Moody Blues Fans out here in cyber space eager to read about my meet-and-greet experience.
But then, while I was in Cincinnati, Jeff died.
I still can't believe it.
And into that all-too familiar pit of shock and overwhelming sadness our tiny community plummeted once more. There was Jeff's family and friends to console, and post-funeral thank-you notes to help write, and that sinking, sick, exhausting inertia that comes over us all when we, in the blink of an eye, lose someone we love.
Needless to say, I didn't make it to the concert.
And until this morning, I could not bring myself to write about why. Or write about anything else for that matter.
Why this morning? I don't know. But I do know what Jeff would say.
"Well, get writing! Let's go!"
So, here I go.
I miss you.