Christmas – 2005

Well, here it is again, Dec. 24th, and we are late again, but hopefully it still remains the “thought that counts”. On this day before Christmas, it is a cold (by Georgia standards) 25 outside and we have a cozy fire in the fireplace, so the ambience is all in place. In reflecting on the past year, I suppose it can be characterized as a typical “retirement year”, with me still involved in the community via the Community Tree Council, and Joyce trying to keep up with house and yard (increasingly daunting tasks).

But the year was not dull and was punctuated by one extraordinary event – a wedding. At this point in life, when considering other alternative “extraordinary events” we might be attending, a wedding is a real blessing, especially when it involves one of us. That’s right; on July 9th Diane was married in Tribune, KS to Greg Brown, a great guy and teacher/coach at the local high school. Needless to say, the phone conversations between Tribune and Athens become more frequent and lengthier than usual.

On July 3, Bruce and Pam held their annual 4th of July bash at their place on Lake Oglethorpe, with fun games and great food as usual. July 4th (Monday) was a re-coup day and on the 5th began an exodus to the west reminiscent of the 1860’s (minus the Conestoga Wagons). We left early and headed towards Kansas City. A little later, Karen with two daughters, Alyssa and Caitlin took off from Atlanta with Robin, Bruce and Pam’s son (they could not go because of business commitments). Well, bless the advent of cell phones!

Banter of speech and text messaging highlighting milestones and offering wisecracks, followed us into the heartland. We arrived in Tribune Tuesday afternoon and evening respectively. Meanwhile, George and his two kids, Ellen and Jason flew out on Wed. to Denver, and rented a car to Tribune. He was delayed by tropical storm Cindy, but he did get there in time for a pool party. To begin with, Diane and Greg had envisioned a small simple, exclusive affair (after all, they had done all this before). But living and being active in a small town precludes anything being simple much less a wedding. As far as being exclusive, forget it. It seemed inclusive was the better word as the whole town was simply buzzing.

Inclusiveness became more evident during the rehearsal, where virtually all family members especially the kids, had a role to play. The day was topped off by a gala rehearsal dinner provided by the Wilson’s (Bill and Lisa), Greg’s sister and brother-in-law) at their beautiful home in the “country”.
The wedding was beautiful and seemed to play to a full house. All, from the receptionists (Ellen and Caitlin), the ushers (Diane’s Jake, Josh, Levi and Stephen, and Greg’s son Heath), the pianist (Tammy, Greg’s daughter), the candle lighters (Jason and one of the Wilson boys) and the bridal attendant and bouquet holder (Diane’s Leah) preformed flawlessly. The bride and groom were stunning and made it through without a scratch.

Leaving Tribune the next day, we spent one night in Eureka Springs, Arkansas and headed home. Folks, if each year had only one event like this one, who needs any more? What a great year it was, hope yours was as fulfilling, and can’t wait for 2006.