Christmas – 1992

An Athenian Christmas Greeting to you followers of the varied if not bizarre Barker chronicles.

1992 represents the first full year doing what Bob has always dreamed of: working for himself and running his own business. Well no need to remind most of you the gulf between perception and reality is a little more than trivial. This of course, has made for a most exciting year. While they say going to the electric chair is also exciting, this excitement was positive in every sense of the word.

From a business point of view, the excitement was manifested in a change of emphasis and focus. To reflect this, the company was reestablished as “Bob Barker & Associates” of which we have several, but most significant is George and his company: “Natural Resources Consulting, Inc”. He has helped me refocus on “urban forestry” a notion that is coming of age as a multi-disciplined activity where (for the first time) horticulturists, arborists, and landscape architects meet to talk and not scream at each other. Designing the information packages to assist in their decision making process is a challenge I am really looking forward to in the coming years. With regard to information systems, Bob and a colleague successfully put on a short course in April and he is looking to do one again in Feb., 1993.

Another reason for excitement is the dynamics of the clan itself and our current proximity to three fourths of them. You have heard “cheaper by the dozen”? Well, I don’t know about cheaper, but at least easier when spread out. Major expansion occurred in late January with the birth of Ellen Ruth to Karen (KRO) and George (11 going on 12). What a great kid, and so good-natured. However I don’t think the dog has talked to them since.

You know dogs; don’t speak much, just sort of sit there and stare at the wall. We were close enough to go to Montgomery and be part of it. Around here in Athens, we see a lot of Bruce, Pam and the young ‘uns; Robin and Greta. Bruce stops for coffee probably once a week on the way to work, but it is sort of a “slap out” experience for him. Every time he shows up, we are “slap out” of coffee, but he is persistent.

In fact his visits and inquires have escalated in the past week or so, but I find it is Christmas cookies and not the coffee providing the motivation. Although it is a two-hour ride, our Karen (KB) comes over from time to time and vise-versa. Highlights this year include Alaina’s birthday, when the whole crowd met with Pam and Bruce at the pool for a picnic. Sometimes we meet in-between, such as George and KRO, and Bob and Joyce meeting KB in Stone Mt. for their big annual craft show. The gals did the crafts, George and Bob did the golf. Hey guys, not a bad gig, just keep the stakes low when you play these young pups. Again, we met KB and Barry, and Bruce and Pam at Unicoi State Park in the North Georgia mountains. This is the site of Anna Ruby Falls, a cascading, tiered waterfall of over 350 feet. What a spectacular area for a get-together. Yessirree, this proximity stuff is OK.

How about the other one-quarter? Unfortunately there is no proximity here. The Jayhawk Division is still in place in Tribune, KS, and not to be outdone, they not only contributed to, but set the pace in the baby boom department, with the birth of their fifth, Stephen Jeffery, on Sept, 29 (it is now a cool dozen – we’ve now the personnel, all we need is the “Field of Dreams”, how about it Jeff, got say wheat field you don’t need?). With three other boys; Jake, Josh and Levi, and Leah only a little over a year old, Joyce and I felt we wanted to plug in, not only in the spirit of “911” but we just couldn’t stand it.

We arrived in Tribune after stops in Little Rock (didn’t see Bill), Fort Smith, Wichita, and Dodge City (a disappointment). When we got to Diane and Jeff’s, things were in great shape and we had a delightful week. Of course things are different in Kansas, at least out there, like playing golf with sand greens (I guess they should call them ”browns”). We came back through Oklahoma City, and had a great time. Guess you can see we haven’t slowed down much, and hope you haven’t either. Here’s to a great holiday and better New Year for you and your loved ones. Lets add in the rest of the world too, it could sure use a good year about now.

With much love