Monday, December 20, 2021

Our 2021 Christmas Letter

 We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

About 2021, as Yogi Berra was reputed to have said on a different matter, "It's deja vu all over again."

But years are like snowflakes; no two are alike. Maybe. But given an infinite number of snowflakes...

So where am I going with this?  

Beats me.

But I continue. At the first instance, with all that we didn't do we still continued to never being bored, a pattern of our lives that hasn't changed for either of us for 79 years. We both always have something that interests us and often wonder how retirement can be so busy. 

Maybe we can blame it on Radar, our little boy in a doggy suit. He wakes me in the morning - early - and I walk him into the trees so that he can do his necessaries. Then still in the morning it's time for his pee-pee-poo-poo walk for over a mile amongst the redwoods, taking us over a half-hour, and yes, Radar still talks baby talk. Then Radar has us take him to Cook's Beach at low tide to play ball for an hour and walk another mile+. 

Sunset at Cook's Beach

Finally the sun goes down and we grab our mountain lion beating sticks for Radar's pee-pee-poo-poo walk, another mile and another half-hour roaming through our neighborhood. 

On our night walk we observe many animals - numerous deer, occasional foxes, raccoons, and too many skunks - Radar has been sprayed twice - but so far no mountain lions.

Radar in a Christmas party mood.

Besides indulging Radar, we've stayed active doing "people" things too. Alice loves her book club meetings, reads a "good" book - a classic or best-seller - every five days -twice through if it's for the book club - and studiously tags key points, new words, interesting passages - each of the books she's read is festooned with colorful tags.

Alice's book club met outdoors

The company Alice founded in 1975, Vulcan Wire, Incorporated, continues to operate successfully with very loyal work employees. Vulcan's Christmas party at Club Paradiso was attended by all sixteen plus spouses, dates, and other family, and the photos were taken at opposite ends of the table to feature everyone.

Alice's company,Vulcan Wire, was central to her memoir,
The Lady With Balls

Alice signed copies of her memoir at Barnes & Noble Book Store in Santa Rosa.

Our 2021 travels were modest but very satisfying. We attended two weddings. The first was my grandson Michael marrying Brittany, who is the mother of one of my great-granddaughters. 

Michael and Brittany, and daughter, in Crescent City

Michael and I

Then Michael Bonham married Sarah. Michael invited us to his wedding because twenty years ago Alice tutored him in reading, and her efforts met with such great success that Michael wrote that "she changed his life."

Alice and Michael Bonham

Michael and Sarah

A highlight of our year was the family gathering in Lafayette to celebrate the 80th birthday of Alice's first husband and father of her two daughters, Hans Stiller. Their families were joined by Han's sister's family from Southern California. 

Alice treated her daughters and their families to a Black Friday dinner after a wonderful Thanksgiving at daughter Jeanette's home.

Other good times were involved with my Gualala Lions Club and Rotary Club activities, as we find ways to have in-person meetings and activities. We just completed an outstanding Project Santa involving funds raising, then identifying about two hundred needy families in the area and delivering them toys for their children and vouchers for food of their choice at our local supermarkets. While wearing my Rotary hat I handle the money collected and issue checks, then put on my Lions cap and fill my truck and trailer with bags of toys to deliver to the Horicon Elementary School for distribution to the families. Project Santa is a complete community effort, from donations from over two hundred families, purchasing the toys and food vouchers, wrapping the toys, and organizing dozens to transport it all on the delivery day. 

I'm writing diligently on two projects, a sort of a memoir, sort of a local history, about growing up in Point Arena in the 1950's, titled Strong as an Ox and Nearly as Smart, and another proving that climate change is natural and can be adapted to, entitled It Ain't Necessarily So. I've written a lot, the easy part, now I need to organize it all, which ain't easy. I need to crack the whip on me like Alice did on herself when writing her memoir. 

I also hope and plan to have a Point Arena High School reunion of the classes of 1967 - my class was 1960 - back to the beginning of time. The reunion website is Point Arena High School Reunion.

Maybe Alice and I can collaborate on a book about how to keep busy in retirement. But I'm afraid that we're too busy at the moment to take it on as a new item.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!