Merry Christmas, or is it Joyeux Noel?
“ ‘Forty-three for dinner at 2:30 monsieur?’ Good grief, no, no, no! That is two for dinner at 8:30”. Thus ended one of our longest and most memorable conversations in French while we were in that country. So much for “French, the Way the French Speak It”, our trusty pocket guide. This episode was near the end of a two week trip highlighted by: (1) two day in the Loire Valley, those magnificent chateau/castles of the area and the sudden realization that every meal was to become a mystery and without written receipt we would never really know what we spent for anything, (2) a week in Toulouse in southern France (the home of SPOT Image S.A. our parent company) and the celebration of “Beaujolais Nouvuo”, the new crop of Beaujolais guaranteed not to be over 17 days old. The event was highlighted by a friend, who invited us to his home (a rare honor in that country) for a real French meal. We sat down at 8:15 and didn’t rise until 1:15 and then only slowly. We ate much food served in many courses, much talk and much Beaujolais Nouvuo and (3) Paris for a week, and yes, more Beaujolais Nouvuo. It was a nice two weeks, but nice to get home.
On a more somber note, we were saddened by two losses this year. In May, Bob’s Uncle Hubert Morfey died. He was a true friend, and had a positive influence on the Barker boy’s lives. Then in June, while Alyssa (Karen and Barry’s 4 year old daughter) was visiting, Bob’s mother passed away. Although this was not entirely unexpected, it was unexpected as these things usually are. It really closed out an era in our lives. As usual in the many trips made up to CT in the past year or so, Joyce’s brother and wife, Gordon and Martha were most gracious in their hospitality. We did have a chance to reciprocate a bit when they visited on their way to Florida. It was then George and Karen (KRO) came up from Panama City to visit. After putting Gordon and Martha on the car-train for Sanford FL, we spent a whirlwind week with George and KRO in D.C. and environs. We returned the visit by spending a week in Panama City, where the two of them claim to work. I mean, with a new house, a new 19 foot boat, salt water fishing, fresh water fishing, skiing and softball there simply is not enough time for mundane pursuits such as employment. In any case broiled Spanish mackerel prepared the day caught is just superb.
Pam and Bruce opened the Leeds Gallery in Athens Georgia as a major expansion to their business. Being into galleries, they came to Washington in July to take advantage of the many galleries in this area. Of course they dropped off Robin with Gram and GP. A fair trade I would say. Diane, Jeff and little Jake didn’t make it back East this year, but they did buy a house, and in our talks on the phone, Jake sounds bigger, i.e., from “goo goo” to “Gram”, is quite a step.
We made it to San Francisco twice this year, the last time included a weekend with friends in Truckee; near Lake Tahoe, Donner Pass, and Reno! What glitter, what lavishness, what a splash. The big spenders blew $10. on the one-armed bandits. On that note we will leave you with only a sneak preview of next year, we know the clan will have grown by three, you will have to wait and see who, where and when. We do hope your year will be as fulfilling as ours obviously will be.