Christmas – 1998

“Ho, ho, ho” this year comes with a mouthful of mosquitoes. How bizarre the weather has been. But then again (without elaboration) the whole year has been a bit bizarre. Although we haven’t commissioned a poll lately, we are offering up our annual epistle anyway. First of all, in June we headed for Tribune, KS to visit with Diane and family (“don’t worry Dad, no major projects, you can just sit and relax”).

I knew I was in trouble when we called Diane on our way and she asked: Dad, what do you know about linoleum?” Of course it was for the bathroom, the only room in the house where doing anything other than what it was designed for is almost impossible (ever move and replace the commode?). The linoleum was in waves, and except for the lack of white caps you had a virtual seascape. Unfortunately the linoleum was not wavy, the sub floor was. “…Honey, where are your screw drivers, pliers, and other tools?” – dead silence- bad omen – need supplies.

Now you can judge the size of towns in Kansas by the number of water towers (you can’t miss them). One tower is a simple intersection with a grain elevator and a few houses, a two-tower town has a main street, one street light and a few stores (grocery, drug, hardware and farm equipment). Then there is the three tower town (maybe a McDonalds or Pizza Hut added) , and two traffic lights. When you get to 4 or more towers, then you are getting serious and you might find a Wal-Mart or Gibsons and the grain elevators and cattle feed lots are outside of town.

Tribune is a two tower town and the monopolistic local marketing philosophy existing in such town would make Bill Gates blush. With the price of goods inversely proportional to the size of town, it is wise to seek out a four (or more) tower town to shop which in this case is either 45, 60, or 70 miles away. We got the materials and supplies, and after a new floor and 5 ceiling fans, we completed the week. So much for nothing to do, but we (both of us) did enjoy fixing up her “pad” a little. We brought Josh (Diane’s second oldest) back east with us, and he stayed with Karen in Atlanta. By this time it was the 4th of July and we all went to visit George and Karen in their new “digs” near Tallassee, AL.

This seven acre tract sporting three buildings, a house, and office, and a cabin in the woods overlooking a 2.5 acre bass (bream and catfish too) pond. What a great place to bring a crowd for an outing. The pond is loaded, and all the kids (including me) caught fish as fast as we could throw in the line. Of course ‘ol GP here had to demonstrate how to de-hook a fish. “Simply hold the fish firmly with thumb in mouth and finger under the chin…and flip, the fish is in the middle of the crowd, much to the giggles and glee of the young students. So much for parental credibility and senior guidance.

Shortly after this get together, Bruce, Pam and kids invited us kayaking down the Broad River in northeast Georgia. Well the water was low, and my sitter hit every rock and shoal in the six-mile run, I was so intent in seeing that Joyce was doing OK, I capsized twice, got hung up three times and if it wasn’t for Bruce, I would still be there. Joyce? She zipped down like a champ. So much for this seniors’ finesse and athletic dexterity.

Finally we spent a few days in Pigeon Forge, TN. We took in a couple of shows including Louise Mandrell and Lee Greenwood. The commercial buildup was unbelievable along the “strip” US 441. This is already too long, and my editor will be upset, need to go.

Have a great 1999, and are you Y2K ready?