Monday, December 20, 2004

Our 2004 Christmas Letter

                                                                                                                  20 December 2004

We wish you and yours the merriest Christmas and the happiest New Year!

        In a recent exchange of opinions via letters to our local weekly newspaper, I was accused of wearing “rose colored glasses.” Alice and I are too optimistic. We think life is good. We enjoy our lives, friends, and families. What is wrong with us? Have we lived lives without loss, sadness, regret, challenge? Are we in denial, unable to see how tough life is, how messed up the world is? In a word, no. We have lost, and sorely miss, many of our closest family and friends throughout our 62 years. Many of our loved ones are gravely ill or struggling with infirmities and disabilities. That means that we are a part of humanity, too.

        Now a brief recap of the past year. The highlight was Alice and her brother Rob hosting a three-day 90th birthday party for their father, George Dickinson, at Newport Beach in July. Besides the party, we stayed fairly close to home this year. We went to Mexico for two weeks; a week in Mexico City, and a week studying Spanish in Cuernavaca. We had planned to visit friends at Lake Tahoe but had to cancel because my real estate job got too busy. In fact, the past year has been busier than the four previous years combined, and my “hobby” has become hard work. Be careful what you wish for, because wishes may come true. 

        Shortly after George’s birthday party, we had company for 19 nights in a 36-day period. We were serious when we invited everyone to visit, and for awhile it looked like everyone was taking us up on our offer. Alice is very busy in a book club she joined this year and is enjoying it immensely. She said she studies harder for book club meetings than she ever did in school, and just for sheer pleasure. Her company, Vulcan Incorporated, just gets better and better, thanks to the employees’ “sweat equity” ownership program Alice started years ago.

        Buddy, who nipped a jogger’s nipple to escape from city life, continues to show that crime does pay. Buddy now is rarely more than an arm’s length away from one of us, except when he is visiting his other family including his little sister Duchess in Walnut Creek. He spends a lot of time in the woods, on the beaches, chasing rabbits, deer, wild turkeys, and skunks. I wish the little stinker would drop skunks from his list, but “if it runs, Buddy chases it.” I'm glad there are no bull elephants in Gualala!

        Soon we will be on the road for Christmas, New Years, and family birthdays. Then later in January we go to Thailand for a few weeks, return in time for Alice’s high school reunion – then I’ll have to catch up on two months of neglected real estate work in about a week. Alice and I already feel tired just thinking about all that is before us! Like getting this in the mail before Christmas Eve. 

Best wishes for now and for tomorrow, and for all your tomorrows.

Alice and Michael