Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Holiday Letter, 2007

It’s been a while since the last family newsletter, and a lot has been happening. For one, we’ve joined the ranks of the Empty Nesters a couple years earlier than expected.

P is a sophomore down at Clemson University. He’s studying biomedical engineering, or at least that is his track so far. He has been active marching tuba in the Tiger Band, along with joining as many orchestras, big bands, and jazz combos as he can. Sounds like a minor in music to me. He does get to perform at most football games, including various Peach and Chicken bowls. He is in a great scholastic honors program that takes them on various trips under the guise of international study. Not sure how much of that happens, but they end up doing and seeing a lot of good stuff. On last summer’s England/ Ireland/ France trip, Paul apparently volunteered to be the one designated to finish everyone else’s requisite pint of Guinness. In May he will be off to Turkey for a couple of weeks and will be back in time to tour with the Carolina Crown Drum Corps for the rest of the summer. He missed last summer due to the Euro adventure. Crown has a great video up on under Happy Holidays. The tour schedule is online at in case you are interested in catching a great performance.

N has been having his own high school adventures. This fall he started attending the North Carolina School of Science and Math, a state-run residential school up in Durham, NC for juniors and seniors. He lives in this cool old hospital that has been converted to dorm rooms. The school is really competitive to get into, and is filled with other brainiacs like himself. The school sends everyone home for a long weekend each month, and N has a spot on the Unicorn Express charter bus that drops off at a local shopping area, which helps a lot with the 3-hour (each way) trip. Unicorn = school mascot. Last summer he spent a week working on a Habitat for Humanity house in rural South Carolina with the youth group from church. N and Bob rode with the NCSSM team in the New Bern MS150 bike event. Next issue: college selection.

Betsy continues her quest into the mysterious world of hard-core knitting. Gardening has been reduced to checking the yard to see which plants are losing the natural selection battle with the drought. It may be time to try desert plants here. Church teams (committees are out, teams are in) and working on R&D projects while managing capital projects are other distractions.

Bob is back to riding bicycles again, after a number of low mileage years. He and N even ventured into a few local mountain bike races. One ended abruptly for him in a fairly spectacular faceplant-style crash. He got away with a minor concussion, a handful of stitches in his chin (beards are good), a fairly scraped up face including a black eye, and a dented helmet. How does the commercial go?
Entry fee for Over 40 Men’s Rookie Category $15
Insurance CoPays for ER, Cat Scan, etc $1700
Healing fast enough to speak at your parent’s 50th Anniversary seven days later: Priceless.

Bob has been playing bass with a blues-rock trio out of Shelby, NC. The Ned Lucas Band performs 3 or 4 times a month, which is plenty. The glamorous parts: the driving around alone late at night, and the third hand smoke. And helping Ned haul around his 475 pound Hammond organ.

In Upper Peninsula news Bob’s parents moved to a more comfortable single story house in Iron Mountain just a few weeks ago. The Cass Ave classic foursquare is on the market.

Pet news: The rabbits, Bruno and Petey, seem to be surviving without their main keeper, N. When you’re a rabbit, your mood is easily improved with the occasional treat like an apple core or a handful of weeds. The bunns were not too keen on our record heat wave last summer. Too many 100-degree days in a fur coat. But they are lovin’ this cool Christmas weather. The fish, well, they all croaked.

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