Christmas – 2003

Here it comes again! Like an inevitable freight train that’s rumble started well before Thanksgiving. Christmas is once again looming with joy and merriment afoot amongst us (at least at the retail level). As if more evidence of this phenomenon were needed, we further substantiated the season by engaging in a regional “mall brawl” and “fun run” stretching from Birmingham, AL to Duluth, GA.

First it was the malls of Birmingham, a fun afternoon (the first always is), dinner and evening with George and Karen. The next morning, guess what? More malls. Then it was back to their place in Tallassee where we lit and helped decorate what was without doubt the best looking “woods-run” tree I have ever seen. After attending the Tallassee Christmas parade, the “joy and merriment” firmament was really beginning to stir.

The very next week we met our Karen at the Mall of Georgia for our annual transfer of gifts, mall “cruising”, gabbing and lunch ritual. Although most of the body thoroughly enjoyed these forays, the feet were in serious disagreement. It just seems this disagreement becomes louder as the years pass. Now at home, we are preparing to go to Bruce and Pam’s for a cookie sampling (accompanied by a “nog” or two). So yes, we are “malled” out, spent out, and slam tuckered out, and now it is time to “pig out”, completing a not so unique annual routine, which we would not replace with anything. We hope all you are having as much fun as we are.

Of course we miss Diane and her kids in all this, but she got even this summer, when she and the clan blew east and enveloped us like a Kansas weather front. This was the first for them, and there was a reason. You see, 2003 was our 50th anniversary and the kids (Karen, Bruce, Diane and George) decided to surprise us with a big soirée for the occasion. Well it was a surprise all right, since the anniversary was in April and the “bash” was set for June (when Diane et al could make it).

To help her into the Atlanta/Athens area, we met her in Chattanooga, TN where we visited the famous Rock City. Some of these Kansas folks had not seen much more than a hill in their lifetime, and the mountains of Tennessee were something else. After visiting the Tennessee Aquarium, Diane and crew visited with Karen in Atlanta to see the sights (Six Flags, the World of Coke, Stone Mt. and a Braves game, etc.) for a few days. Then all converged on Athens for the big event. Since in Athens Bruce was the designated “host”. He has a great place for it with lakeside swimming and plenty for kids to do.

Festivities culminated with a sit down dinner in downtown Athens that was the highlight (with 13 grand kids, what else would you call it?). In addition, we had brothers from Florida and Connecticut, a niece and her two daughters from Portland, OR, a nephew from Panama, and close friends from Florida and Maine. Talk about diversity! It was a great melting pot and every one got along just beautifully. We really had a family reunion, but didn’t know it,
so it was successful.

It was a summer we will never forget and it was topped off by three days at Panama City Beach. It doesn’t get better than this, and we hope you had a great year too, and you are looking forward to a terrific 2004 as we are.