The Drake Family, December 2001
2900 Dakin St., Bellingham, WA 98226

The years move on and we grow older, day by day and year by year. As 2001 draws to a close we think back on these past twelve months and take account of the blessings that we have been given.

George often commented that the only way he is going to win a bicycle race is to outlive the competition. Well, he did win three gold medals in bicycle racing this year at the state level racing in the 70-74 age group. No one else in his age group showed up. Mary Ann still plays a good game of racquet ball, swims and uses the weight room at the YMCA and David still does a swimming workout several times a week. We do what we can to remain active and healthy and not merely outlive the other guy.

A sure sign of our growing old(er) is the fact that we celebrated David’s 40th birthday this September. We had a dinner party for about 30 persons at a local restaurant with professional music and singing. David’s special friend Beth was there as were her parents and many old friends of the family. It was a party to be remembered for a long time.

David still works part time in the food service unit on the university campus during the school year. The rest of the time he works in Big Rock Garden Park as a grounds keeper. He keeps busy with his stamp collection and other hobbies. He is never bored! When not doing gardening for an older (than us) woman on Saturdays David likes to take the bus into the county to spend the day with Beth at her parent’s home in Van Zandt where they run the old-fashioned general store.

George took a tour group to Latin America in January. He had a group of 7 persons who participated in the first seminar on jungle medicine that he is trying to develop with a group of Quechuan Indians in Pastaza province in Ecuador. It was wonderfully successful. Problem is how to institutionalize it so there is an on-going income for the tribe.

On Mothers’ Day we opened the annual sculpture exhibit in Big Rock Garden Park. The exhibit was the best ever with 76 sculptures in the garden setting. Well over a thousand persons attended the activities during the day. Mary Ann and her friend Joy Ellis took a three-week automobile trip throughout the US Southwest with visits to Bryce Canyon and the Grand Canyon National Parks, among others. Later in the summer she went on her annual spinning retreat to Stehekin Valley Ranch at the western end of Lake Chelan. She is not participating in as many craft fairs this year as in the past. Her spinning group meets regularly at local assisted care and nursing homes. Residents are often very intrested in the process. The spinners, meanwhile, can check out the facility for their  needs.

George’s passion of the moment is the development of the web site for the Korean War Children’s Memorial. In the pursuit of information to post on the web site he went to Sacramento, California to meet one of the great heroes of that war who saved the lives of over 950 orphans and returned with over 200 photos and documents. Then he went to Washington, DC where he spent time at the National Archives copying over 300 photographs of the GIs and the children as well as copying many documents. It will keep him quite busy sorting all that material out and getting it posted to the web site. Those of you who have access to the Internet take a look at www.koreanchildren.org. One of the most interesting sections is the Kiddy Car Airlift. Check it out. See if you can figure out who is a thief and what he stole.

Todd, Michelle and their infant son, our first grandson, Cyle, joined us for Thanksgiving dinner. It was a lovely visit. They live in Everett, Washington. Cyle is a charmer. We are delighted that things are working out better for them and pray that they can continue to make progress in their attempts to get good jobs and build a strong family relationship that would include the two boys Michelle has by a former marriage.

On September 10th we were all atop Table Mountain which is about an hour hike up a steep trail at the end of the road on Mt. Baker. From there the views were incredible and we were in awe of the majesty of nature at its most beautiful. We were so thankful that we lived in an area with such grandeur. Then the crash! To escape the news reports and video coverage we took off for a short visit to Tofino on the west coast of Vancouver Island where we hiked the trails along the bluff overlooking the pounding surf. Communing with nature is a soul-calming exercise.

Individually and as a family we have all been involved in social issues and have a worldview that encompasses all races, religions and nations. We have traveled in over 30 nations and spent months and years in five or six countries. What is happening now is horrible. The post 09/11/01 world is truly a new world in many ways. Having lived through WWII, the Korean War, Viet Nam and later incursions in various parts of the world, we are not looking forward to the form the new global violence and terrorism will take.

So we go on with our lives; spinning, reading, hiking, doing research, riding a bike and traveling. But things are not the same anymore. That which endures is love, friendship and community. Thanks for being part of our network of love, friends and community.

With a prayer for peace and justice in the world we remain,

George, Mary Ann, David.