52 Tavern Road
Stafford, VA 22554
Merry (belated) Christmas! Yes, I admit that I'm responsible for our late holiday card mailings due to my procrastination to write this letter. Fortunately, Dotti didn't keep me in "guilt time out" too long, as our short term memories seem to get overwritten quickly as each day's priorities take hold. But, you aren't off the hook, yet as I did remember to get 2it; so I'll ramble a little about the highlights of our travels and family events this past year.
First, we survived the east coast wacky weather and seismic occurrences without any major damage to body or home. Though, on an amazing light windy day, our ten-year old, twenty foot tall Bradford Pear tree decided to topple. Somehow the tree trunk snapped, and "jumped out" of the ground; it was a weird looking break and hole. Anyway, we had him cut up and removed, and afterward I repaired the lawn, and then planted a younger, fast growing Natchez crape myrtle. It may be awhile before somw shade returns to ourfront lawn.
In May, Dotti and I visited Oahu Hawaii where I had some work-related customer business meetings, and then took some vaction time to revisit our old haunts and sightsee. We certainly were impressed with the new military facilities, housing and retail areas, which are so much better for today's service personnel and their families. Nothing like what we had when stationed there in 1980.
Over the 4th of July holiday, all of the Hayden clan made their way to Effingham, Illinois, to attend the Ray and Marie bushue Family Reunion. Dotti and her three sisters, Norma, Betty and Glenda, orgainzed and hosted the gathering at Betty's Lake Sara waterfront home for about 55 members of three generations. Many first and second cousins met for the first time that weekend. We had great fellowship, food, water fun and spectacular fireworks. Also, we visited the site of dotti's childhood home on South Banker Street, which has been the local Dairy Queen since 1976.
Not to be redundant, but Dotti and I again traveled to the Big Island of Hawaii to meet up with Zack and Ashley after they attended the National Horticultural Conference in Kona-Kailua in late September/early October. We stayed several days at the Kilauea Military Camp mountain resort in the Volcanoes National park. We saw and trekked over a lot of lava fields and searched in vain for active flowing lava, which no NP Ranger would allow anyone to approach! Of course, wouldn't you know that Kilauea lava begain flowing again a few months after our visit!
In November, we all came together at our home to share our blessings at Thanksgiving and feast, then arranged to visit the real Sana Claus in Merrifield in early December where we were all relieved to find no one on his naughty list. Then Dotti and I got busy unpacking and displaying Dotti's Santa and Sonwman collection all around the house, decorating our two Christmas trees, and laying out Mark's holiday trains for this year's family Christmas Eve gift exchange (now, can see why I didn't have time to write a letter!)
So, there you have it - even with Jan/Feb heavy snow falls, earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricane rains/winds, summer dry spells, and a quirky economy, we managed to get through our traditional activities and still fit in a few new travel adventures. Through it all, our two cats, Bluster and Pounce, stayed the course without complaining too much.
Do send you best prayers and thanks to our nation's and community's protectors and their families for the liberty and freedoms we enjoy. Have a great New Year holiday.
Dotti and Mark