Christmas cards and now Christmas letters have become a tradition that may not have any direct relationship to the “true” meaning of Christmas but nevertheless create a feeling of sharing and provide a pause to take stock of your life of the past year. It is our hope that as you look back you found joy and happiness and success in your endeavors and that you could combine that with a year of good health. Our Christmas wishes are that you may continue to enjoy health happiness and continued success and enjoyment in the coming year.
As we look back on our year we are again thankful for the bounty of enjoyable memories we were given. We ourselves are healthy and enjoyed a year full of activities. Our sons and daughters all enjoyed productive lives and our grandchildren are rapidly growing up. Chronologically speaking Eric is still at Texas A&M finishing of his engineering Ph.D., Paul and Sue and their sons Michael and Bryan are in the Washington D.C. area and Leslie and Joseph and their four children Hannah, Zachary, Lindsey, and Genna are in the Raleigh area. We were able to visit them in Washington and Raleigh and welcome them in Omena. It’s a joy to be with them and hear them tell of friends and events. The first school years are eye openers on how much knowledge and communications skill that age can absorb and what an amazing opportunity for learning the computer is.
We ourselves also had busy eventful year. Nancy’s primary preoccupation still is the stock market, which she zealously follows on her computer as well as handling the books for the Omena Traverse Yacht Club. Its been four years since Bill retired from Dow Chemical but he does not seem to be able to break away from patent law. It is not that it is the practice of law that attracts him but the challenge of the technical issues involved. But one of these days soon the nastiness in today’s law practice will extinguish any pleasure in continuing such. In any event briefs, depositions and hearings kept him going from one coast to the other.
Even though we were busy with professional activities, we did not neglect our recreational life. We had the most beautiful summer ever in Northern Michigan and enjoyed some of it at the Summons in Omena. The lake had warmed up by June and the breezes kept blowing all summer long. It was the year to be in and on the water. The downside to the year was that we had only two weeks of decent skiing. Instead therefore we took a trip to Florida and Disney World. Five days of escapism was fun but then we ready again for the real world. Florida still has some beautiful areas and when we get older we might want to spend winters down there. We certainly would not be lacking for company of our own age.
In the spring and in the fall we spend two weeks each in Portugal and in France. Historic Lisbon and surroundings are beautiful and Lisboans are delightful people. The history of this relatively small country and how it rose to become a world power through its explorers is fascinating and an example of unbelievable achievement through courage, perseverance, strength and their belief in themselves and God. Thanks to our dear friends Jacques and Francoise Peuscet we spent a wonderful week in the Provence at their summer home during the balmy grape harvest weather. Everywhere you go you can see the remains of Roman civilization and in Nimes the amphitheater and in Orange the open theater are still being used today, 2000 years later. Driving around the varied landscape we were not surprised that so many artists flocked to this area. In Paris we stayed in a romantic little hotel in a building at least 500 years old but recently renovated in the Cite de Ville district. It is one of the liveliest parts of Paris, day or night. Of all of the museums we could squeeze in we liked the Orsay museum even better than the Louvre, the latter is just too overwhelming to take in one day. The food and wine were great and if you made an effort to speak French, no matter how limited, the Parisiens friendly. However, we will never again drive an SUV through Paris traffic at 5 p.m. being totally lost.
Christmas is but around the corner and this year for the first time we will be by ourselves with nothing planned. Despite a lengthy gorgeous fall, we had to mow the lawn in December, we are still hoping for a relaxing white Christmas and time to think about family and friends and maybe some skiing. Our thoughts are with you as we hope that your holidays will be joyous and the coming year successful. As Garrison Keilor would say “stay healthy and do good works”.
Bill and Nancy
© 2004 Bernd W. Sandt. All rights reserved.