December, 1997

2900 Dakin St.
Bellingham, WA 98226

Dear Friends:
This year draws to a close with David enrolled in a program for job training. So far he has worked in the food service unit in a nursing home and currently is working in the kitchen at the university. He comes home every day very enthusiastic about his new experiences. The food services company at the university liked David and offered him a part time job there beginning in January. He will be working 20 hours per week and having off all school breaks, including the summer break, which he likes so he can continue volunteering in the park and doing gardening for friends.

The story aboard the small cruise ship to Alaska this summer was that Mary Ann’s spinning wheel was connected to the propeller and she was pedaling the boat into those lovely ports. She just happened to have a suitcase of her hats along and almost paid for her cruise ticket selling hats to tourists looking to purchase handicrafts from northwest artists. David had his own key to the cabin and stayed up late at night dancing with all those single women (of all ages). He was a hit of the cruise. Everyone knew him.

George took his new Lightspeed titanium racing bicycle aboard the ship and explored roads in each of the ten ports we stopped at. Since buying the bike in May he has put over 3,000 miles on it, mainly riding around the county. He has taken out a racing license and will race in time trials next year! Oy, vey! Will he ever grow up? Mary Ann says she is going to take out insurance on him. If you have access to a computer connected to the internet check out George’s new web page: and you will find out what he has been spending the rest of his time on.

The year began with a trip to the sunny beaches of Oaxaca State, Mexico, then a stay with Louise and Jack in a rented home on the outskirts of Oaxaca for ten days. David returned home with a friend and Mary Ann and George went by bus to Chiapas. Several days visiting Mayan communities near San Cristobal de las Casas preceded an exploration of the ruins of Palenque in a horrible downpour.

We left Chiapas by bus and had the adventure of riding from the Guatemalan border to Huehuetenango in an over packed old bus with up to 10 persons in each seat row counting persons in the aisle! In a shop in the city we met a Danish fellow who invited us to visit his project with the Chuc Mayan community of Yalambohoch, an eight hour ride to the north of Huehue. The next morning we threw our knapsacks, food for four days and ourselves on top of a 10-ton truck loaded with cinderblock. It was like riding a bucking bronco for the entire trip!

The next day we went by horseback down the mountain trail to visit the jungle lake the Chuc community wanted to develop as a tourist resort. Mary Ann had a wild adventure on a raft 30 inches wide and 24 ft. long, sitting on a small log in the middle and a guide

paddling at each end. They were going to show her the lake but instead spotted a small deer swimming across the lake. For one hour they chased the deer, caught it and drowned it. Mary Ann was soaked to the skin, exhausted after the truck ride, the horse back ride and now the raft ride but we did have venison for dinner! The next day we had to retrace our steps out of the lake basin, a four-hour hike up the mountain.

That’s the reason the two-week Alaska cruise was so wonderful. One had real beds to sleep on, didn’t have to chase your dinner before preparing it and didn’t have to locate a hotel at the end of each day’s travel. It was a wonderful way to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. Life’s not dull for us, that’s for sure.

On occasion though we take separate trips. Mary Ann did not care to go to Anaheim, California to the large bicycle industry trade show with George nor did George care to go to Wisconsin to Mary Ann’s nursing school reunion. Mary Ann had not seen some of her classmates in 47 years. It was Fall and Wisconsin was beautiful. She also visited her sister, brothers and their spouses, spent several days with her aunt Eleanore, cousin Louise and husband Jack, and Cele, Mary Ann’s father’s second wife.

Another trip Mary Ann took was to the NW regional spinning conference in Oregon in spring, taking a couple of workshops and having a grand time with 300 other spinners.

She also went on her annual spinning retreat to Stehekin Valley Ranch at the most westerly end of Lake Chelan. This isolated ranch, deep in the Cascade Range, is beautiful. A week there is almost a Zen experience. Besides, the food alone is worth the cost. Mary Ann still plays racquetball, swims and uses the exercise machines at the YMCA. She loves her daily 3-1/2 mile walk through Whatcom Falls Park, weather permitting and is still active with her spinning group and fiber artist co-op.

Due to a late summer with snow on many trails well into August we took fewer hikes this year in the lovely mountains that are within one or two hours of our house but we did get to pick blueberries in one of our favorite alpine meadows.

We wish all our friends, relatives and others who might read these words the very best for this Christmas season and for all the years that follow.

Love to all from George, Mary Ann and David.