Dear Friends and Family,
I've taken on the job of treasurer in the Murphy Chamber of Commerce, and it turns out they just thought they were a certified non-profit organization, and are late submitting the paperwork to the IRS for that certification. I had to reconstruct the checkbook from fragments, since my predecessor left me no proper records. It tends to be educational and to stimulate a high level of concentration, like walking a tightrope. I am also the webmaster for the Chamber, and do a sideline business in website installation -- and a little bit of politics along with the Crime Watch coordinator job. I don't know how I ever had time to go to work, busy as I am in retirement. But it's fun.
Stan and Tanya gave me a glider ride last Christmas, so we turned that into several outings with them. It took several trips to the airport (fortunately not too far away, for us – quite a haul for Stan and Tanya) before we got the conditions right – first it was too cold and windy, then another day the clouds were too low, and finally it was just right. So I got to realize that long held dream, and it was great. The pilot let me guide it for a while, and he took care of the pedals while I took care of the joystick. That could get to be addictive, if a person didn’t watch out.
Phil and I had an enjoyable trip to Northeast New Mexico this summer. We stayed at the NRA Whittington Center instead of camping, so the cooking was less of a burden than when we camp out. Ran around to see all the sights around Raton and Folsom as well as back west into the wild country, where we saw a bear on the road. Got a picture of the bear pretty close up, but you have to know the bear is there in order to see it in the picture.
Before Memorial Day, Jean and I took a week and drove North to South Dakota, where we took in the sights of the Badlands, Mount Rushmore, and Deadwood. Then went over to Wyoming and walked around the three mile circumference of the Devil's Tower (or the Bear's Den, as the Indians called it). Next day, we stopped at a museum of one of the massacre site (it’s always a massacre when our side lost the battle). I had always wanted to see the Custer Battleground site at Little Big Horn Creek, so we drove up into Montana (it’s on the Crow Indian Reservation, ironically) and spent the afternoon there. Jean said she had seen all the museums she wanted to see by the time we finished. It was moving for me, to go over the ground and think back to what those soldiers endured because of an egomaniac's desire for glory and lack of comprehension of military reality. We came back down through Colorado and stopped at Colorado Springs on Memorial Day, just about 53 years since I was there on my senior trip. Then we came on home, having properly christened the new Honda CRV.
Brandi graduated high school by taking an accelerated curriculum and was married at her fiancé’s family’s home in West Plano while he was here on two weeks leave. She moved out here to live with us shortly after we returned from Montana, and she helps to enliven the place. She hears from him via cellphone and e-mail a few times a week, so we're able to follow his progress. He's been there for almost a year, and they plan to live in Germany when his tour in Iraq is over in about four months.
We had not seen Elaine and David for over a year, so we took off for Buckeye, Arizona during the Thanksgiving holiday. We had good weather all the way out, and it was very pleasant during the week we were there. Coming back we came through Gallup and Grants. We got to see the spectacular scenery along I-40 just at sunset. It’s always beautiful, but especially so at that time of day with good weather.
Looks like this has turned into a travelogue, but those are the high points of what we’ve enjoyed through 2004. Here’s wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!