Tonight, I picked up Bora and Catharine at the airport to give them a ride home. It was late, and a lot of driving, but the memory of my grandfather, Louis Sisco, and the countless times he came to get me at Midway or at the NIU pond or any of a number of places near and far reminded me of his boundless generosity and never-ending willingness to drive me someplace.
I really miss him. I miss grandma and grandpa and the conversations we had in the car, or at the diner, or setting up the Hopkins Park shelter for the Sisco Picnic. Last month, in my island jukebox post, I mentioned an incident in Honolulu that’s spurred me to be a better organizer of parties and conferences and such. But I was also reminded recently that it was the experience of watching Grandpa Sisco prepare for the annual family gathering (and the Zuiker jamborees in Tomahawk, Wisconsin, too) that’s truly inspired me to convene family and friends and strangers.
In four weeks, 450 people from around the world will gather in Raleigh for ScienceOnline2013. Most of the organizing duties for this event have fallen to my friend Karyn, who as executive director of ScienceOnline is taking the conference and the organization to new and exciting levels and places and collaborations. This transition has been by design — the last 10 years of organizing events — BlogTogether and ScienceOnline and Talk Story and The Long Table — have taxed me.
The year ahead for me will be one of quiet contemplation added to my quest for conversation. Which might mean more late-night drives to pick up friends at the airport.