Friday, December 24, 2010

Our Christmas Greetings to All!

Christmas 2010

Friends are the family we choose and we choose you to receive our 37th annual Christmas letter. Dorothy Parker once said about a piece of writing, “This is not a missive to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force.” If you do that, however, you’ll miss my favorite pun of the year. I tried out ten puns on Jan to see which one made her laugh. Unfortunately No Pun In Ten Did.

Ouch! Chuck it away now, with great force, if you wish. I can take it. I’m strong and independent. I don’t like taxes, regulations, or big government. What do I like? Well I like good schools, smooth roads, national parks, efficient air traffic control, safe food and drugs, fast response from police, fire, and rescue services, a strong military, insulation from all terrorist threats without any inconvenience to me, and by the way, don’t you dare touch my Medicare. Nuff said! On to the year that was.

Family: Son David still toils in the IT department of Honeywell in Minneapolis and oversees his Minnesota Music Blog There were two major changes in his life this past year. The last of his cats passed away and there is a new female friend whom we hope to meet come Christmas. She is from Finland and he met her this past summer.

Politics again: Why does it seem that every time a politician opens his mouth it is only to change feet? Did you know when you send someone to congress you are depriving a village somewhere of an idiot?

Back to Family: Daughter Amy, her husband Todd, and our two grandsons, TJ and Mikel, reside in Iowa. Amy is still an elementary teacher, but Todd has a new job for a building supply company and is enjoying for the first time in several years the luxury of a position that is primarily indoors and has regular hours . Our oldest grandson is now 15 and a freshman in high school. He played a lot of baseball this summer, went to his first Homecoming dance this fall, and got his first deer just after Thanksgiving. The youngest is 8 and in 3rd grade. He likes science projects and loves to build things. Lego anything is tops on his Christmas list. Even though the economy is so bad that a picture is only worth 200 words now, I’ll include a few anyway.

The Thrower

No,  that big guy  is not standing on a box; he is that tall.

The Builder 

Information: Calories are bloody little bugs that get in your closet at night and sew your clothes tighter. We seem to have an infestation. How about you?

More Family: 2010 has been an up and down year for Jim and Jan. If you read last year’s note, you may recall that Jan had some health issues around Thanksgiving of 2009. This put our 50th anniversary celebrations on hold. We did make it to AZ in the early spring, but then Jan broke her wrist. By summer we had regained some momentum. Jan was doing better even though she could not golf while her wrist healed. Later in the summer we made trips to Cedar Rapids to watch our grandson play ball, did our traditional Minneapolis/Wisconsin swing to visit son David and friends around the twin cities and in La Crosse. Finally, in early August we headed east for two Road Scholar (formerly Elderhostel) sessions . We saw some old friends, and then settled down for two weeks of art, music, and theatre in the Berkshires. It’s a gorgeous area of the country. In October we headed to the southeast to visit my sister Nancy and some other friends in the Carolinas. A sail on Charleston harbor was a sightseeing high point. Details can be found at

Wisdom or what age teaches me: Don’t take yourself too seriously; no one else does.

Family again: We did keep up most of our continuing obligations during the year. Jan and her friend Lila Blum completed their 36th year as heads of the AAUW Art Presenter Program in Monmouth and Jan continues to serve on the Warren County Library Board. Jim remains on the Buchanan Center for Arts Board and runs a group called OFTA (Old Farts Talk Arts.) that enjoys programs once a month. He did retire this fall from his position as Director of Advocacy for the Illinois Theatre Association and was pleasantly surprised when he received the 2010 Member Award of Honor from the association.

 Final pearl-- “Life isn't always tied with a bow, but it's still a gift. Enjoy it."

And here we are. Christmas 2010 is nearly upon us. I am composing this and looking out the window at the first snowflakes of the year. It is, as Truman Capote said in A Christmas Memory¬ , “a leafless, birdless, coming of Winter morning”-- just the kind of day when you wish this tortured world could find more peace in more places. It is also just the kind of day to wish each one of you good health, joy, and the warm blessings of family during this Christmas season.

Jim and Jan De Young  with Flat Stanley at a Chicago Cubs pre-season game in 2010.  We look almost as bad as the Cubs played, but not quite.   Wait till next year!

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