It seems to be a family tradition to pack the Christmas letter so tightly that a line gets left off the end. This has left our many OCD friends and family wondering whether they had missed one line or another whole page. We'll try to get it right this year, though funeral arrangements scramble our brains a bit at the moment.
The End of An Era
Tracy’s dad and David’s stepdad both died this year. The outline of their lives was similar: born around 1920 within a hundred miles of NYC, married in the early 1940’s, went to college - and to war in the Pacific. Returned home to work hard, raise families, volunteer in their communities, and gradually prosper. They had good intelligence and senses of humor, good health until the last few years, and lived to their 90’s to see many grandchildren and even great-grandchildren. Both watched their wives through long final illnesses and missed them after – yet both considered themselves fortunate men. A common outline, but uncommon men.
"Call Us Nana and Pops"
In addition to our actual granddaughters, we are acquiring extras among their friends at church who do not have their own grandparents nearby. We rather expected a predictable, sharply-defined family for our lifetime, but things didn't turn out that way. A friend at church described the Wymans as a cross between the Waltons and the Simpsons. That's about right, actually.
"...except WALKER! I would trust him to have my back and make the right choice in a domestic dispute."
Yes, Drill Sergeant Murphy was trying to shame the other recruits in the MP Battalion at Ft. Leonard Wood. Perhaps. Still it must have been nice to hear, and nicer to report home. By the time you read this, Kyle will be officially in the Army Reserve. Going to school for criminal justice starting in January.
Crying In the CEO's Office
John-Adrian's hospital in Nome switched to Electronic Health Record, and the lead-up was ugly. Norton Sound Health brought in a person specifically to manage the transition, who proceeded to spend a great deal of time crying in the CEO's office. So about a week before they went live they sent The Expert home, called John-Adrian in to the office, put him in charge of the transition, and gave him a raise. Things are different on the frontier. Being John-Adrian, he has complete confidence. He has been there more than four years now.
When Does All This Craziness Stop And Real Life Begin?
Tracy and I used to say that humorously to each other when we were first married. And then when the children were born, somewhat less humorously. Then also when school schedules and church meetings dominated so much of our lives for years, not so humorously at all. We're still saying it. Wryly.
Ja, I'm going to Julbord at work, wearing a full suit.
Another one of those "is this really my son?" moments. Ah, they grow older. They prosper. They understand social situations. They dress better. Chris continues in Tromsø, visiting other parts of Europe when he gets the chance.
Here I Am! In Africa!
Jonathan used this line to make fun of one of Ben's pictures of himself in a scenic venue on his mission trip to Rwanda. Just jealous, I think. More 3rd-World orphanages, more Ben drawing attention to the need. J-A and David went to Houston just before Christmas to see Ben's new house in Spring and watch him direct filming at The Woodlands UMC, where he works. It's one of the busiest times in a big church, but we did get time with Ben and met his friends. Plus, JA got to see the sun again and feel the warmth. We finished by flying to Missouri to watch Kyle graduate at Ft. Leonard Wood, and bring the lad home to NH.