Just below is the text of the self-centered annual Christmas e-letter I sent out. It mentions some of the things we did along with links to more details.
It lists only a couple of the things we didn't do. That list is really long and, as is to be expected I forgot a few of the highlights of the undone such as lost weight, cured the common cold or followed through on New Year's resolutions.
Well, recycling is popular right now, isn't it? Why not recylce one's resolutions? There may come a day when the motivation and will power are there.
There will come a day when they don't matter and fall off the end of lists of good intentions. At the risk of sounding nihilistic most of them probably never did matter.
We wish you a Merry Christmas. We hope you are all well. We are.
Nobody in our immediate family cured cancer or imposed world peace this year, but here are a few highlights from our year:
January – We flew to Nicaragua and did tourist things and language school and helped a bit with a medical outreach. Our Granddaughter, Sonja, joined us for the outreach.
February – Still in Nicaragua relaxing and travelling the country.
March – We were in Meadow Lake for a while and then went to Regina for pre-turnaround safety training for the annual refinery maintenance turnaround.
April – Paul worked at the refinery and Juanita volunteered at a Thrift Mission in Regina.
May – Paul went to physiotherapy in Regina for a torn hamstring unrelated to the refinery work. We both went to Nebraska for a few days to visit friends. Then it was back to Meadow Lake and out to BC for Paul’s sister’s 80th birthday (She is MUCH older than me) and a few days in Powell River.
June through August – Just puttering around home south of Meadow Lake with a few trips to Edmonton in there.
October – We drove south to Texas to huddle up against the Mexican border for warmth and to help with a SOWER project through November and December until the end of January.
Again, Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year
December SOWER Project
We carried on with floor repairs in the training center kitchen. Juanita worked along side me for that. Once the sub-floor was repaired a bunch of us piled on and installed interlocking plastic tile that had been recovered from a local basketball court. They go in quickly.
Then we all worked to re-install everything that came our of the kitchen: the prep island, the buffet line, shelving, stove, convection oven and refrigerators. I wandered across the hall to direct and participate in installing tile in the dorm room. Juanita stayed in the kitchen to help clean and organize it. There were a couple of holes in the dorm floor from the leveling that had been done. We cut the tiles but set them aside until I had repaired the holes. Meanwhile the young, strong, staff members brought in all the bunk beds and reassembled them.
We stayed busy to the official end of the December SOWER project and then intermittently after that to help prepare for Big Feed coming up between Christmas and New Year.
Hidalgo Festival of Lights
The city of Hidalgo, about fifty miles up the Rio Grande Valley from us and right on the border with Mexico holds an annual Christmas light festival. They have a fleet of trolleys to take people around town to view the spectacular lighting displays. A number of times we have met up with other SOWERS in the valley and had the roast beef dinner and trolley package and then watched the concert.
This year the SOA couple and ourselves decided we could skip the trolley and the dinner and just go to watch the students from San Luis Potosi perform.
The weather was good and the kids did okay, but maybe our memory of the efforts of the students of previous years has improved with time. It did seem the group lacked the sparkle and crispness of past years. Maybe it was us, but we all formed similar opinions independently.
I would go again if somebody else wanted to.
Christmas Tree Extravaganza and Exihibit
One afternoon I said I wanted to go to the Harlingen Art Museum and see the decorated Christmas trees. Juanita said she would sit in the truck and read. Through whining, guilting and other time-honoured persuasion techniques I convinced her to at least go to the entrance and see if there was a fee.
I think she enjoyed the various uniquely decorated trees even more than I did. It took about fifteen minutes to see them all without rushing.
As we walked back to the truck she said, “that was nice. I had envisioned two hours when you said ‘museum’.“
The kids in the congregation of the Way of the Cross chapel held a Christmas play on the Sunday before Christmas.
I don’t know which I enjoy more: the little kids or the looks on the Mom’s and Grandmom’s of the little kids.
Everybody has Christmas traditions. Being away at Christmas and just the two of us we have formed a mini tradition for when we are in the Rio Grande Valley. We go to Furr’s Buffet in McAllen. It opens at eleven. We got there about noon. The line was to the corner of the building and stayed that way until at least until we had finished our meals. The early birds say that the line is around the building just before the buffet opens its doors.
A thoughtful Popeye’s franchise in a Pennsylvania airport did its best to help travellers during the Christmas season. They sold a box of emotional support chicken for people to carry on to their flights. Even though we didn’t travel at Christmas (other than to McAllen) I sure appreciate their gesture. Especially since it seemed to annoy those houmourless scolds in PETA.