Thursday, December 26, 2002

Our 2002 Christmas Letter

Alice and I both turned 60 this year and the maturity we now exhibit is in consonance with our years. More than at any other time in our lives, we are aware of the uniqueness of life and of the lives about us. We both lost our beloved stepmothers this year, Edna Dickinson in April and Ruth Combs in July, and several other good friends. And yet, life goes on, and our zest for and appreciation of it and of each other increases remarkably with our increasing age. Maybe life does begin at 60! 


We enjoyed more travels this past year. We spent last New Year's with great friends in Playa del Carmen and were entertained and educated by visits to Mayan pyramids and temples, Mexican villages, and snorkeling in the warm, clear waters of the Gulf of Mexico. In June we went to Denver for the 90th birthday celebration of Alice’s Aunt Ruth, and visits with relatives, many living in the Denver area, and many who came from afar to celebrate. 


In further reflection on year 2002, like Yogi said, it's deja vu all over again. Alice has been remodeling a house we bought that is just behind our present home. Remodeling a home was the way we started life together in 1989, except then we lived in the house as work went on all about us. About this remodel, suffice it to say that it is taking twice as long, and costing twice as much, as we thought it would. Alice is loving every minute of it! Then in August we began an encore of the four-month bicycle trip we took to Europe four years ago, only this time we went for two months and spent almost the entire time in Scotland, with just a little time in Ireland and England. Early in the second week of our journey we had our hardest day on bikes ever. With our packs that averaged 65 pounds, we began a 32-mile ride from Ballater past Balmoral Castle (the Queen was there, I wonder if she saw us peddle by?) to the Spittal of Glenshee (you have to love Scottish place names). Halfway through the ride, we began a 10-mile steady climb to the 2,000 feet summit at Cairnwell Pass, riding into a headwind that got stronger as we climbed - the gusts at the summit exceeded 50 miles an hour, and at one point blew Alice right off her bike. We rode past the base of ski lifts at the summit, and then flew downhill for six miles to our bed and breakfast lodge. There we arrived just in time for dinner provided by “Angels” as Alice named the six young ladies who invited us to share the BBQ they prepared for a Bachelorette party. 


At the end of our bike trip, we joined Alice's high school reunion group for a 60th birthday party and cruise from San Pedro with stops at San Diego, Ensenada, and Catalina island. Unfortunately, during the first night Alice thought she was having a heart attack, and when we arrived at San Diego she was rushed to the UCSD Medical Center. Tony Bennett may have “left his heart in San Francisco,” but Alice left her gallbladder and about 100 gallstones in San Diego. 


During the year we exchanged visits with friends and relatives, celebrating birthdays, etc. In October, we arrived in Las Vegas too late to celebrate my eldest son Bruce’s 39th birthday, but in time to celebrate his wedding to Tobe the next day. We wish Bruce and Tobe, Bruce's teenage daughter Leaha, and Tobe’s three sons Brian, Kyle and Shane, all the best, especially if (when) Bruce’s Nevada National Guard Military Police unit is called up for active duty.