Looking outside the window it is hard to believe that this is already the second Sunday of Advent. We are experiencing unseasonably warm weather and some how it does not seem like Christmas. We are keeping our fingers crossed that we won’t just be dreaming about a White Christmas! Looking outside also reminds of the winters in Delaware where we started our life together. What a ride we have had over the last almost fifty years. There is so much to be thankful for. Three wonderful children and, now, six lovely grandchildren. Good health and never in need of essential material things. Satisfying careers and wonderful friends. We have been part of without doubt the most exciting decades if not century of human history.
Again we had some wonderful experiences this last year. Our highlight was a twenty day trip through South America with stopovers in Brazil, Argentina Chile and Peru. From the Amazon jungle to the snow capped mountains of the Andes we began to appreciate what a large continent it is. The Statue of Christ on the Corcovado with the city of Rio spread out below the outstretched arms is breathtaking. The history of how the statue was built by the contributions of all the cariocas of Rio is another monument to the human spirit. Nature certainly did not take a second chair in our memories of the trip. The rain forest and the Amazon, the Iguazu Falls, the trip by boat across the Andes, the mountains of Peru, the lake district in Chile all combined to provide a kaleidoscope of the continent. Visiting Manaus and Petrograd in Brazil, Buenos Aires, Santiago, Lima and Cuzco made the history of the four countries come alive. The history and civilization of the Incas and the feats of the conquistadores is something that you will not forget once you have been to Cuzco and the mountain-top ruins at Machu Picchu. This trip was a dream we have had for many a year and of course it was much to short. We would love to go back!
Another memorable event was Eric’s graduation. After many years of hard work Eric was awarded a Ph.D. in civil engineering this spring from Texas A&M. The family was there to watch the graduation ceremony and see Eric being hooded. President Bush was the commencement speaker but it did not matter to Eric that he did not receive a personal congratulation from the President. Of course the family tried to make up for it.
In October we visited the kids on the East Coast and spent some time with Paul and Sue and their boys in Williamsburg and then went on to Raleigh to see Leslie and Joseph and their three girls and Zachary. I envy those of you that have grandchildren close by. Visits and phone calls are just not enough for you to become part of your grandchildren’s lives. We look forward to the time when the kids can spend time with us without Mom and Dad being there. Short trips to Los Angeles to visit Nancy’s brother Let, and a trip to Stratford in Ontario rounded out the year.
The Michigan scene was pleasant but uneventful. The winter passed without much snow and we were not able to ski but for three or four days. The summer in Omena was warm and dry. Again we were happy to welcome family and particularly my sister Erika from England. Sailing was fun but the winds were not as strong as in past years. Bill has not been able (deliberately or otherwise) from disentangling himself from his professional career and still does some work as of counsel to a New York law firm. Also Dow kept him involved in some new technology. Nancy still handles the finances for the Omena-Traverse Yacht Club, which because of the burgeoning membership and an ambitious construction program is getting to be quite a workload.
There you have it! The only words but probably the most import ones left to say are to wish you and all your family a Merry Christmas, Happy holidays and our best wishes for health and happiness in the next year, decade, century, and millenium. If I may plagiarize Garrison Keillor, “Take care, do good works, and stay in touch!”
To our German friends I’d like to add: Wir wuenschen auch in Deutsch eine sehr froehliche Weihnachten und Gesundheit und Glueck zum Neuen Jahr! Wahrscheinlich wird es fuer uns schwierig sein am Walla Walla im naechsten Jahr mitzumachen, wuerden aber gerne hoeren wie es gegangen ist. Wenn es moeglich waere, wuerde es schoen sein einen Bericht ueber das Walla Walla zu bekommen. Wenn das was kostet, dass ist auch ok. Allen KWSern wuenschen wir auch noch mal kung zsi fa zei!
Bill and Nancy
© 2004 Bernd W. Sandt. All rights reserved.