Holiday letters are my way of documenting my life in letters. I figure when I can’t remember where I live or with whom I’m living (it’s a scarier thought than I’d like to admit. As we get older and can’t find our keys or phone, forgetting the big stuff doesn’t seem that far off…) these letters will be a fun way to relive the “good old days.”
Unlike many folks, I don’t want to forget this year. There’s no denying that there have been crappy parts to it, primarily due to this nasty Covid 19, but some also due to the contentious and never-ending political craziness.
In January, which seems like a million years ago now, we started the year out with our annual bowling tournament and New Year’s Day gathering at my brother Robert’s home in Hardin. Lee, Tom and Paige were there with me, and they took over running the tournament. The trophy went from niece Kam’s sons Benjamin Noteboom to his brother Jonathan. And now due to Covid, we are cancelling the tournament for the first time in 34 or so years. See you at the bowling alley in 2021.
We didn’t know what was in store for us, so in January Lee departed for Hiroshima, Japan on his great adventure tutoring English. The plan was that I would visit him and try to reconnect with relatives I had met when I was 16. Lee’s spent the year in Japan, probably in his tiny apartment more than anywhere, and will be coming home early 2021. And I’ll have to plan that visit to see relatives for some other time…
After we got Lee off to Asia, I loaded up the F-150 and began my Solo Ski Sojourn 2. This year my truck took me to Alberta, across the Canadian Rockies to Whistler, down through Seattle to McMinnville, Oregon to visit my great niece Cassidy, down to Sacramento to see my sister Carol, up to Tahoe Basin where I skied with niece Karolyn and Tom (who had an epic crash) and on to Sun Valley, over to Grand Targhee (to ski with Bill Boyt, who wasn’t skiing) down to Snowbird, UT, then over to Steamboat, CO. Whew! That was one long run-on sentence! If you want the gory details about car crashes, broken truck windows, and the Covid inception, wait for Solo Ski Sojourn 2, expected release mid-Winter, or read my blog.
Who had even heard of “shelter in place” or Zoom prior to Covid? Since March we’re all experts at it. As a retired person trying to be a writer, it’s actually been a good thing. I’m working on book 2, Tom & Emmy and have the first draft and edit done. As an extrovert, it’s been killing. Thank god for Zoom, Houseparty, Buck Burger, Book Club, Ski ladies, Shut Up and Write, TC JACL and a few other group calls…or I’d be crazier than normal. I played golf, tennis, and pickleball with nice groups in the cities, and challenged the Book Club Ladies to yoga. And I’ve been walking, biking and eating more than usual…
Tom & Paige have been looking out for me. Over Memorial Day they cleaned out my garage so there’s room for both cars, and we took a drive to the headwaters of the Mississippi. We welcomed Tom and Paige’s baby Oliver Scot Zimmerman in August and all eyes are now on Ollie. I drove to Texas to get my twins and singleton fix with Maiya, and did some wandering through the Osage Indian Reservation stopping in Pawhuska, Ok on the way back. Maiya’s become a YouTube influencer after being laid off from JC Penney and I look forward to her calls almost every day. And Lee—well, I’m happy with one-word responses that indicate he is alive. And even though Easter, 4th of July and Thanksgiving were spent alone, the Buck Burger group had a food exchange where we met at the Leaf Valley Merc and swapped Thanksgiving specialties. It made the day more festive, for sure.
Almost in defiance of the stressful Covid and election, we had the most spectacular Fall I can remember. Then there were the 70 swans a-swimming… Kiba & I kayaked—I paddle, Kiba the dog navigates. The lake, it turns out, is a great place to be a hermit.
We aren’t out of the Covid woods yet, but with the vaccine, there’s a glimmer. I hope this finds you and yours well. My condolences to the families who have lost loved ones, through Covid or otherwise. It was tough not to come together during those times.
As I have said many times, we will celebrate everything twice when this is over, and there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t thank my good luck to have friends and family like you!