Dear Family and Friends,
Last year at this time, we were facing the prospect of a non-white Christmas, and winter continued mostly snowless, for one of the worst ski seasons in memory. This year looks to be more promising: we have had two pretty good snowfalls already. As a neighbor said to Nan and me as we walked Scout past his house this morning following last night’s accumulation, “It’s good to see the wet.”
After the season’s first snowfall last weekend, Nan and I ventured up icy roads to the Colorado National Monument for this year’s card photo. Scout couldn’t join us because dogs are not allowed, so we dressed him up in antlers for the letter photo instead. Yes, that is a cane in Nan’s right hand. She underwent bilateral hip replacement surgery on October 26 and has been making a remarkable recovery. Osteoarthritis and thirty-five years of running had used up all her cartilage, leaving her in constant pain. She should not run anymore, but she may now look forward to a future of other activities, like swimming and cycling, free of hip pain. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to Nan’s sister Monica for her tireless, hands-on assistance in the weeks following Nan’s surgery.
The year started for us in Isla Mujeres, Mexico, where we celebrated New Year’s Eve with local friends at the island’s all-night fiesta. We have vacationed there almost a dozen times now, but this was our first winter trip. It was chilly and windy, definitely not beach weather, and we were happy to have brought our fleece jackets. We went back again in September for a week of perfect weather, lazing on the beach, finding new things to see and do, and checking out the island’s many marinas for a future sailing trip from Savannah. Our friends Mike and Erika from Aspen joined us for a day from their vacation in Playa del Carmen, and we saw all the sights from a rented golf cart.
In April, my family held a reunion of sorts in Savannah. Mom and Dad hosted sister Jane, her husband Josh, their twins Max and Ben, sister Susan, Nan and me for golf, downtown tours, Tybee Island beach time and long, memorable dinners. Missing were Susan’s husband John, their kids Kirsten and Peter, and brother Stuart and his girlfriend Mayumi. Stuart has not visited the mainland from Hawaii for at least five years, but we’re all hoping to visit him there sometime, maybe for Dad’s eightieth birthday in June.
Nan enjoyed a few quick trips home to Manitowoc this year for family time with her mother, her sister Amy, and other members of the Mullins clan. In May, she helped celebrate her mother’s eighty-ninth birthday and sister Monica’s fiftieth.
Summer in Grand Junction was the hottest on record, with many days above a hundred degrees. Even with his cool “puppy cut,” Scout refused his afternoon walks after scorching his paws on the hot asphalt. Nan and I braved the heat most weekends for bad golf at our local public courses, and I finally hit a hole in one after fifty years of trying, witnessed officially by Nan and our friends Kevin and Lesley.
After many years of writing these Christmas letters, I regret to tell you that this is the last one we will be printing and mailing. Like Newsweek magazine, we are going completely digital in the New Year. If we have your email address, we will send you an electronic version at this time next year. If not, please look for the letter on my blog at whisperingjesse.blogspot.com. In case you don’t already have them, our email addresses are email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wishing you and yours a wonderful, wet holiday season and a peaceful, prosperous New Year!