Sunday, January 11, 2015

Christmas Letter 2011


Merry Christmas from Alabama:

We are happiest about the Spring tornado experience we missed.  Don’t want to go on too long about our good fortune--its unseemly and uninteresting and don’t want to whine about misfortunes, schadenfreude has a limited charm.  Life may no longer be getting better but the pleasures it provides are more nuanced.  I feel the Christmas season a little rushed and “smaller” than it used to feel but it could be we are in charge of the magic now and know where the script might be a little slapdash. So with such limited responsibilities I feel for our dysfunctional national leadership in their attempt to cobble together a vision for America that we jaded minions can embrace.
Our four days of powerlessness after the storm was to my mind electrifyingly satisfying.  Perfect weather and no work with no planned schedules was like Nirvana.  No TV.  No internet.  No phone.  Neighbors sitting on patios and porches while children sloshed around the neighborhood like rudderless boats.  We got our news from the RADIO.  Wow.  So retro cool.  The big downer was when a house would succumb and buy a generator and return to real life....
Lynne and I snuck up on our 25th anniversary in Feb and flew to NYC for a 48 hour weekend.  I juggled 5 websites searching for best fares and bought an excellently priced ticket for the wrong time; 6:30pm rather than 6:30 am.  Either my eyes or my attention to detail is fading and neither bodes well but we arrived at the ticket counter in the AM after a worrisome sleepless night and explained the stupidity to a ticket agent who cheerfully(no sighs, no eye rolling)in 30 seconds simply placed us on a flight to Chicago to connect to New York and presto 3 hours of frustration holding for reservations and conversations with overly friendly but sadly impotent Indian call centers was ended.  So I guess it’s only Customer Service if you get your way...
Hardy finished his junior year at Birmingham Southern in Economics and spent the summer working in an orphanage in the non-tourist section of Acapulco.  To his parents this was not an auspicious time to be do-gooding while drug cartels were beheading school teachers in the suburbs but fortunately we didn’t need to have regretted not purchasing kidnap/ransom insurance and when he returned we could find something else to worry about. 
Lindy became a debutante in October which I guess makes Lynne and me- Symphony Patrons.  But it was a glorious party- White Tie and all that.  Common people look more important in a tuxedo and I even felt sophisticated.  I am not sure what ‘coming out’ means in the modern context since all the girls are returning home from their sophomore years at college having lived in coed dorms and attended 18 months of fraternity keg parties but style, as Flaubert remarked, is the absolute manner of seeing and its good for the young people to see how costumes and flowers can really dress up a keg party.
Eli has grown 6 inches this year vaulting him past Lynne and placing him perilously close to overtaking his Dad.  For a few years I’ll let him pretend to be smarter than me while he grows taller than me and then he WILL be smarter than me but fortuitously not know it.  He was the back up quarterback on his team, a position his parents like very much.  Actually playing football in Alabama in the big school (6A) division is dangerous.  I keep talking up tennis but I think he has his heart set on being better than his brother.  Unfortunately he will have to play to make All-Region...
We spent Spring Break in Chicago.  It’s probably better to bring the bikes to the Windy City in June rather than April but we persevered.  Eli brought his friend Jacob and I think they liked deep dish pizza better than the Field Museum and the hot tub better than the hike from the Technology Museum to White Sox Stadium where we and 500 other hard core fans watched them lose in the freezing rain.  The tour of Wrigley Field was in the sun.  Lynne’s cousin Eric showed us around but he was not the only friendly face in this midwestern city--most were cheerful in conditions we southerners regard as inhumane.  
I rode my bike to Eli’s first baseball game of the season arriving 3 minutes before he hit it over the fence.  It was a little too auspicious a start because he did not do it again the whole season but then again it is a major league field.  The second base umpire awarded him a ground rule double but the left fielder came in to the umpire and told him it went over.  Classy.  Normally even high schoolers pretend they’ve made a catch when they are short hopped.
Now the Poconos in summer are traditionally a delight but we left 95 degree days in Al and drove 16 hours north to be in 100+ temps with no air conditioning.  Lynne’s brother and wife joined us from California with their newly adopted 10 year old son.  We biked the Lehigh Gorge trail and rafted the Lehigh River from Jim Thorpe.  We took water cannons and declared war on all other boats which was an obnoxious thing to do. We lost the war but won the fun.  Lynne’s Mom passed on that misadventure.
Lynne and I were able to get in a perfect flying experience to DC in Sept.  We left our house at 11:50 for a 12:55 flight catching it effortlessly as we glided through security arriving at National, catching the metro to Thomas Circle and were in our room at 4:00pm EASTERN time.  Who says flying can’t be pleasant?  Lynne’s college roommate was hosting a reception following a first marriage at 50+.  Dinner with her and her new husband was a delight--we ate Italian-- symbolic of course of being just one big happy family all over the world with anybody who ends up loving the people we love.
The extended Reynolds family spent Thanksgiving on the Alabama Coast in a big 8 BR house.  The BP disaster was not in evidence and the weather too brisk for swimming but perfect for everything else.  We all did the 5K turkey trot to prepare to feast but probably still went over the calorie allotment.  We are not getting any younger but certainly heavier. 

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