Again Thanksgiving has been celebrated, the first big snow storm passed through and thus Christmas can’t be far behind. Certainly the ads in the papers won’t nor the lights in the neighborhood let you forget and as usual we would like to share some events and thoughts. Most importantly we want to wish you wonderful holidays with family and friends and may the New Year bring you good health and happiness.
This has been a somber year for us, both personally and as a nation. Early this year in February my sister Erika my junior by four years, succumbed to a fatal bout with cancer and we buried her ashes on a hillside near Droitwich were she had lived for a number of years. Her three sons were by her side as her life ebbed away and although she was going to miss her grandchildren growing up, she was not distraught and was looking forward to meeting her husband Lee in another life.
Our national elections focused our thoughts on the political issues facing our country and made us wonder if world peace that we once thought was within our grasp would ever be accomplished. The brutal terror of religious fanaticism so vividly brought to our attention through 9/11 and now through the events in Iraq and elsewhere caused many of us here to turn to our own religious beliefs to seek answers. We continue to pray that our hopes for peace will be heard and that the killing will stop.
As far as our own lives are concerned it has been a quiet year with not much travel. We did go on a two-week cruise of the Southern Caribbean early in the year, which we enjoyed but were bothered by a hacking cough that we could not shake. The islands we visited were beautiful and the ship was delightful but our times on shore and the tours invariably seemed to be during the hottest part of the day and sometimes more than we thought we could endure. I guess we do enjoy crisp cool winters.
Other than Bill’s trip to England for Erika’s funeral we did not venture very far. We did enjoy our times Up-North at the Sandts’ Summons in the summer months. As usual we tried to get as much sailing in as we could but the weather was not very cooperative. It was a cool and wet summer. Our children and grandchildren visited and enjoyed themselves. The oldest are now big enough to lift the sail out of the water for windsurfing and we hope to see them become expert at also that sport.
The ones we missed were our eldest Eric and his wife Dawn. After many years of residing at Texas A&M Dawn found a position teaching at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque and they set up house there. Eric is doing some teaching at the University but still looking for a full time occupation. They and their dogs seem to enjoy that climate a lot more than that of College Station, Texas.
During the fall we visited with Paul and Sue in the Washington area and saw Michael and Bryan in action on the ice. We were tremendously impressed on how well the boys could skate and the effort their parents had to put in to get them to practice and the games considering that Washington does not have too many rinks, which are spread out all over. Both Paul and Sue are doing well in their professional careers which all makes for a rather hectic life.
We are also extremely proud of Joseph, Leslie and their four children in Cary, North Carolina. Joseph resigned from Lilly to set up his own company with a partner to provide software for sophisticated pharmaceutical analytical data and Leslie is now teaching both chemistry and biology to 10th and 11th graders, subjects that never were her major. They too lead a hectic life with extra-curricular activities like volleyball and basketball for Hanna, football for Zach, gymnastics for Lindsey, who took first place in her age group in the state competition and soccer for Genna.
During the summer we also were able to welcome our friends from Paris, Jacques and Françoise Peuscet at the Summons and has their son Julien stay with us again for a short while. We certainly learned from Julien that computer smarts are not just an American trait as we see in our children and grandchildren, but is a worldwide phenomenon as Julien demonstrated to us. We look forward to next year and visiting with the Peuscets in Paris.
Our Christmas will be a quiet one with time to reflect on all the blessings we have received through the years and give thanks for having a wonderful family and wonderful friends. You will all be in our thoughts!
© 2004 Bernd W. Sandt. All rights reserved.