I’d say Merry Christmas, but I don’t know if I’m legally allowed to do that anymore, so Happy Holidays to anybody who’s still paying attention to this long neglected blog site.
As a way of catching you all up, I’ve decided to write one of those Family Christmas Letters we all love to get … you know, the ones where one of your more ambitious relatives takes three or four pages to brag about their family vacation to Guam or little Johnny’s standing ovation at the violin recital (his rendition of Hot Cross Buns left the audience near tears) or how much money they spent renovating the indoor bathroom.
Anyway, a lot has happened to me this year, and not much of it interesting … so here goes:
I turned 60 this year (see earlier posting) and don’t have much good to say about it other than I never knew the barber could shave my ears.
We had a family reunion in July where over a hundred of my closest relatives gathered to swap stories and lies and generally spend most of the day trying to figure out who they were talking with. Nice time, though, and relations from across the country came to take a dip in our gene pool and enjoy a good variety of grilled meats, cold beer and warm soda pop.
I also celebrated the one-year anniversary of my new liver (see earlier posting) in July, which came just a day before the reunion. So I got to share the occasion with lots of nice people, some of whom even brought me presents. My cousin Joe, always the thoughtful one, gave me a big bag of onions … because, he reasoned, “what else do you get for a liver.”
In October me and the family took a trip to South Korea, the birthplace of my lovely wife. While everybody in the family has been back to Korea at least once, we have never gone as a family group so that was nice. My wife and I and our grown son and daughter spent two weeks touring the country and visiting with relatives. Beautiful country, and great people.
The old aunties muckled onto me jabbering away the whole time like I understood everything they were saying. I just nodded and kept saying “nah, nah” (yes, yes) because I figured no mater what the culture, it’s hard to go wrong if you just keep agreeing with the women there.
And after spending two weeks not recognizing most of what was on my dinner plate, it was nice to come home and sleep in my own bed again. We took about a zillion photos (most of which my daughter posted to Facebook), and brought back a few things … well, maybe more than a few.
The night before we left the old aunties packed our suitcases (and one extra they added from their own collection) with everything from dried seaweed and noodles to old country remedies, enough to keep us from going hungry or to the hospital for a good while yet.
We had eighteen for Thanksgiving dinner at our house this year. We typically have a group, as we live in a 225-year-old house with a large dinning room and a big table … all the makings of a good Thanksgiving meal venue. And because of our mixed heritage, it’s become our tradition to have a big Korean Thanksgiving meal the Friday after Thanksgiving where we draw an even larger crowd as my wife and mother- and sister-in-laws cook up a feast that pretty much dwarfs our Thanksgiving table.
Which all brings us back to Christmas. I grew up in a family of eight and Christmas was always a big deal around our house. So mistletoe and memories decorate our home and the music we’ll all be sick of in a week floats through our hallways bringing with it that old excitement and a little of that lively chaos that comes with organizing decorations and presents and meals, and making sure you don’t forget anybody on the list.
All in all, a fitting way to end a year, I think.
Well, if anybody’s still reading, I wish you and yours a happy holiday season, and all the best in the new year, where I’m hoping to pay a bit more attention to this site … but I’ll save that for my New Year’s resolution posting.
A special Holiday Greeting to my old friend Wild Bill … a lousy poet, but a good friend with a great grin.
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