Christmas – 1994

The season has arrived in Athens make no mistake about it. Trees are up and decorated, lights are strung, malls are pandemonium and I sit writing this annual epistle hoping it will make the last post before the holidays are upon us. I guess potpourri expresses this year the best, as we ran the gamut from pre-school, university and projects to weddings, trips and grandchildren. We have come to realize, alas, that to retire merely means to tire all over again.

They say, you really have to come back as a tourist to see and appreciate the sights. We found this to be true this year with three trips to Florida. The first trip in February was the wedding of Eric Olson, son of our good friends Dave and Eileen, in Ft. Lauderdale. We arrived via the west coast of Florida, as we explored Corkscrew swamp and the Big Cypress. A fascinating trip we would recommend to anyone who is in the neighborhood.

A second trip in April was made to visit our old friends the Elliotts, who had a place for a month in Englewood. We took the occasion to visit with Joyce’s brother Lou and his wife Ginny, as Lou celebrated his 70th birthday. He doesn’t look it, but I guess it is all relative when you are not that far away from that magic age (unlimited earnings without loosing any Social Security benefits).

A third trip to Florida was to Ft. Lauderdale once again (Florida Urban Forestry Conference) with George and his family, but this time via the “Keys”. On the way back , I persuaded everyone that a drive through the Everglades (in August) to Flamingo, that final outpost on the tip of the peninsula was a marvelous idea-Wrong! When we opened the doors to get out of the van, we were immediately immersed in a black cloud of mosquito’s. We literally ran to the buildings, only to find them closed for the season. Fortunately the bathrooms were on the second story and open. Mosquito’s were not up that high. George lost in the straw drawing (he would have lost in any case) and made a dash for the van to come pick us up. The park ranger, amply gooped up with repellent obviously, must have thought someone had really come unglued, as the van with open windows, madly sped in wild circles, spewing mosquito’s with every lap. So much for my credibility.

The family tree sprouted another branch on October 11, with the birth of Jason Andrew to George and Karen. This brings our grand total to thirteen – wow! Future reunions will have to be held in Ft. Benning. The reactions of the Dog and Ellen were about the same but for different reasons: Ellen: “who is this creature invading my space?, dog: (who’s tail is already 3” longer since the arrival of Ellen): “Oh man, here we go again!” As to the rest of the crowd: well with Karen in Atlanta and Bruce in Athens, we see them on a regular basis and they are both doing well. We of course wish Diane and the Kansas delegation lived closer, we miss them and would like to see more of them. Who knows, maybe some day?

Otherwise, are we keeping busy? You bet! Joyce has signed up as a substitute teacher in a daycare/learning center and I really think she works more hours than some of the regulars, including some 11 hour days. This is in addition to what I might call routine grandmotherly activities including stunning seasonally pain/decorated sweat shirts for all the troops. I have been working on several urban and suburban forestry projects, and have launched a series of one-day short courses in automated mapping remote sensing in conjunction with the Cooperative Extension Service, Forest Resources, and was nominated and appointed as adjunct at the Daniel Warnell School of Forest Resources here at the University. I am excited about working in an academic environment, and look forward to working with them in developing programs in information development and management.

Here’s to 1995 (we are lifting our glasses). We hope it brings you the best. If it’s to be like ’94, I can’t wait.

Love, Joyce and Bob