Saturday, December 25, 2010

Wyman Christmas Letter - 2010

Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies it bears no fruit.
Concord Covenant Church closing - church shopping. Ben wisely told us to look at other churches before we returned to consider Bethany. Tracy discovered that she is uncomfortable with the way that many churches organize their worship services. So even though Bethany has changed a lot and we only know the old-timers who were there 14 years ago, it still felt like home. We have gone back to being “Jonathan’s Parents,” as we were 20-25 years ago. Or even “Emily’s Grandparents.”

I’ll put Jesus in his nest.
Of course, going to church where the most beautiful granddaughter that ever lived attends is a blessing – and distraction. Emily just turned three, celebrating with a frog themed birthday party. We gave her a rolling backpack in the shape of a frog to pack when she comes to our house - working up to a planned sleepover next May when her new sister Sarah is expected to make her appearance. Plus, granddaughters say remarkably cute things.

How can you know me if you don’t know my children?
Not a statement, but a thought I had visiting back at the church we went to in the 80’s and 90’s. I would be speaking to someone I had known well then - and even run into at events over the years – and make a normal conversational reference to one of my Romanian sons. The other person would look puzzled, clearly scanning his memory files for record of these children and coming up blank. It’s easy enough to explain the adoption in 2001, but it seems so very strange to consider. I imagine those who switch locations after being widowed, or after their children have grown, experience much the same thing. How can you know me and not know about…? I am not understandable without reference to them. Time to get used to it. It is the first time in nine years we haven’t had a Romanian in the house. Kyle hasn’t been interested in developing an accent just for our benefit.

So what does Dave Wyman wear on vacation?
Said about me in reference to my Hawaiian shirts at work. Yeah, I’m one of those guys, though I’m drifting away from it now. Proud people are reluctant to look like a tourist (or so American) when they travel. Like they were going to blend in so well otherwise. But I am a tourist, and a happily American one, so being identified as such at 500 meters never bothered me. I liked that family could easily identify me in foreign cities and stuck with the style at home. Perhaps it is finally time to dress with a respectability that I have long shied away from, now that it’s too late. We are now in an era when medical problems among our peers become more and more part of the everyday conversation of us all. Nothing especial for us, but we seem to get referred out to specialists a bit more often every year. It’s all well meant of course, and I’m all for safe choices, but it creates the overall impression of you are just about to break down. Catastrophes wait just over the horizon. Well, I suppose they do. But then, they always have, ever since we were children. Different catastrophes for every era.

Thank God for Powerschool!
We are scheduling teacher conferences at Goffstown High this month for Kyle. We started those with a foster child in 1977. There’s an art to it. We also really use and appreciate the access to the teachers’ grade books known as Powerschool, to keep running track of his grades in all subjects. And when the grades go too low, the computer disappears.

It’s not that warm on North Carolina beaches in February.
We took the train down to visit Chris at Camp Lejeune, dragooning Kyle into yet another educational experience by catching Williamsburg on the return trip. David took the opportunity to propose again at the Governor’s Palace Gardens, the place he should have proposed 36 years ago. Chris has still not been deployed to a war zone, to our relief and his annoyance. He was transferred out of a unit just before it went to Afghanistan, into a unit that had just gotten back from Haiti. So two years in, nothing but more Camp Lejeune on the near horizon for him. I don’t think that was the life he was envisioning. His November leave was cancelled at the last minute - we are hopeful he can come for Christmas. He has made no decision about whether to sign on for another four, but I think I would bet against it at this point. We do point out to him that the unemployment rate for men in his age group is currently 18%.

I’m thinking of moving to Nome. In a week or two.
John-Adrian moved to Alaska in late summer, at the invitation of a NH friend now in Nome who has been encouraging guys to join him since he moved up there. Ryan was an extra son for awhile when he lived nearby – though at least we never had to go to school conferences for that one – and we are quite pleased at the arrangement. John-Adrian got a job as an accountant at the hospital there – it’s an unusual setup where medical personnel fly out to the far villages to provide care, and pass their slips for Services Provided on to JA when they get back. Nome hadn’t been on our list of “places we have to visit,” but it’s certainly an interesting thought. Perhaps in 2012. In summer, thanks.

You are invited to appear in court in Oradea in February 2011.
Chris and J-A’s Romanian father died, which didn’t break them up much. Yet he owned a small house in the tiny village of S├órbi, which neighbors and relatives are now fighting over. Our two were invited to come over and make their wishes known. Neither is going, but they are exploring if there is some way to put in a good word to their younger sister’s advantage.

Ann was the only one who wasn’t crying as we shipped out. She knew I’d be back
Tracy’s dad, Stuart, celebrated his 90th birthday with many relatives in attendance, and read aloud a reminiscence of his wartime years, including the above. Ben flew up from Houston for the event, got to stay at camp with us, and attended Dan King’s wedding as well, so we got much of the best of him. We finally got to watch his cache of online videos when we realized that it was Firefox that was refusing to play them, not some obvious download we had neglected to install. Of the few dozen offerings, the best story is of his documentary on the Wesleys, produced for a Methodist conference at The Woodlands. More copies were requested for that than for the conference sessions, suggesting that Methodist confirmation and new member classes throughout Texas are now being enlightened by Ben’s video.

2 comments:

Cassandra said...

Chris has still not been deployed to a war zone, to our relief and his annoyance. He was transferred out of a unit just before it went to Afghanistan, into a unit that had just gotten back from Haiti. So two years in, nothing but more Camp Lejeune on the near horizon for him. I don’t think that was the life he was envisioning.

You'd be surprised (or perhaps not!) how many Marines this sort of thing happens to. Still, I am happy for you. It's hard to have a child over there.

Gringo said...

Chris has still not been deployed to a war zone, to our relief and his annoyance. He was transferred out of a unit just before it went to Afghanistan, into a unit that had just gotten back from Haiti. So two years in, nothing but more Camp Lejeune on the near horizon for him. I don’t think that was the life he was envisioning.

The father of a childhood friend was in the Marine Corps in WW2. Before being sent overseas, he was late in returning from weekend leave. The car ran out of gasoline on the way back to camp, and during the gas rationing time, it was difficult to get more gasoline.

For that misdeed, my friend's father was transferred out of his unit. His former unit got sent into combat, where a substantial proportion of its soldiers got killed. His new unit never got into combat.

Such is life in the military. You never know.