Christmas Card 2020

Merry Christmas 2020
Click to enlarge the image.

2020… The year that “things were just not quite right!”

Merry Christmas to family and friends,

After returning from our annual pilgrimage to Texas, Missouri, and Illinois to visit family, we spent the first couple months of 2020 focused on Annette’s cultural heritage community grant project. During Valentine’s Week, we took our tiny trailer for an adventure in southern Nevada to explore two National Wildlife Refuges. We also saw Barry Manilow in concert, but the Doobie Brother’s concerts was cancelled because of illness. At the time, we didn’t realize there would be many more cancellations.

In late February, we drove to Hollister Missouri to help transition Annette’s mother Nancy into life at Ozark Manor after her most recent stroke. We stopped in Las Vegas on the way home to see the band Chicago perform. People were talking about a nasty global virus, but it was just the beginning.

March 1st marked ten years of living in our home. For Annette, this is the longest time span that she has lived in one location. At the time, we didn’t realize we’d be spending the rest of the year in “isolation” in the home we love. A day after our March 11 community dinner, we cancelled the rest of the “face-to-face” events and shifted to “At-Home Challenge Activities” that families could pick up from the local grocery store. Since Annette already teaches online, the pandemic didn’t really affect her work other than dealing with many students facing personal challenges.

April 15th was our 25th wedding anniversary. We celebrated with a “socially distance, truck picnic” where we shared our new wedding bands. These “truck picnics” became a regular part of our pandemic life. About once a week, we treated ourselves to a carry-out meal and found an isolated spot to picnic in the truck. We wore our masks any time we interacted with people such as our once-a-week grocery shopping and picking up mail at our post office. We also enjoyed many isolated hikes close to home.

In early July, the Rathsack family came for a two-week visit. Since they’d had a “pandemic pod” and we’d been social isolating, we enjoyed time together playing games, hiking, and other adventures.

Unfortunately, Summer and Fall were filled with sad news and the passing of three family members. First, Annette’s Uncle Jim Smith (IA) in May, then her mother Nancy (MO) in August, and her Uncle Bob Bolger in October (TN). Uncle Bob’s service was shared via streaming video. For Jim and Nancy, there were no formal services. We hope to celebrate their lives at some future time.

After Nancy’s death, we took a road trip to Missouri to visit Annette’s dad and sister Allison. Our tiny trailer was perfect for “boon docking” off the road and distancing ourselves from others. Before that time, we isolated ourselves in our house and the lands nearby.

The week before Thanksgiving, Annette slipped on rock and gravel while hiking near our house. She broke the fibula on her right leg. After four weeks of healing, she has tossed the protective boot and is walking unassisted around the house and doing some short walks on smooth pavement… closed campgrounds works great for this.

After a couple years of effort, our workshop building is almost complete. Recently, Larry has been setting up and installing equipment. We installed a pellet stove, so it is a toasty workroom even during cold, winter days. So far, we have only seen a few snow flurries and very little moisture, which we desperately need. We’re hoping for a 2021 filled with healing for our family and the world.