Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Our 2008 Christmas Letter

Alice and I were walking Buddy to Cook’s Beach, about 15 minutes away, and I realized I hadn’t started our Christmas letter. What to write about? Travel! Of course! Question: “Alice, besides the two weeks in Guatemala, can you remember anything else?”

After about half a minute of silent walking: “We visited Carol on Maui in January, and then we went to Peleliu for a week. Remember when we were leaving and you asked who won the Super Bowl, and a woman said the New England Patriots? Two days later you learned it was the Giants.”

“That’s right. New York. New England. Very confusing. Then what?”

“We went to Istanbul for a week, then over a week in Budapest for your four teeth implants. It’s a shame that one fell out a month later. On the way back we stopped in New York for ‘Wicked,’ ‘Phantom,’ ‘Chicago,’ Sunday services at the Abyssinian Baptist Church of Harlem, and a day in the American Museum.”

“The Baptist church choir, ’Phantom’ and ‘Chicago’ were great. It’s a pity ‘Wicked’ wasn’t. I hope that implant can be fixed without a third trip to Budapest. Anything else?”

“Well, in early July went to Temecula for your oldest son Bruce’s and Lisa’s marriage.”

“Of course I remember,” I said, realizing I’d forgotten until Alice reminded me. I congratulated myself that at least I remembered that we went to Guatemala City, Antigua, and the Mayan ruins at Tikal for two weeks in early September. While in Antigua, we hiked several miles up and down an active volcano, periodically in driving rain, with a group of a dozen Israeli students, all much younger than our children. Guatemalan cowboys followed us for most of the hike up. “Taxi?” they kept asking us, waiting for us to wear out and rent their horses. We didn’t, and we kept up with the youngsters.

“Anything else happen?” I asked.

“Well, you know, the President thing,” Alice replied.

“Of course, how could I forget?” Actually, I hadn’t. With all the hours we put in, there’s no way I would forget that Alice is now her Book Club president, and that I’m the president of Gualala Rotary.

2009 will be a bit quieter. We plan a driving tour to Yellowstone and Mount Rushmore in May. Then in November, when I should be writing our Christmas letter and mailing the cards on time, we’ll be in India for three weeks. Needless to say, I’ll be in the usual last minute panic to get our cards out, the same as always.

It’s a family tradition.

Alice, Michael, and Buddy

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