As this year of 2008 comes to a close we count our blessings. We have good health, a warm home, adequate food for the body, ability to get out for exercise, enough money to do the necessary travel and some not so necessary. These blessings are not shared by most of the world’s population. Sure, things are getting a bit harder for us. Mary Ann’s eyesight is not so good in the evening and George is not riding as many miles as formerly before getting tired but we are getting older and there is a price one has to pay for that privilege. We are reminded this every time we read about another friend having passed away.

We were reminiscing recently about the wonderful life we have had. Each of us had worldly adventures before marriage and since then we have had many, many more. From deep in the jungles of Central and South America to high in the mountains hiking on alpine trails, from Western China to Europe, from Alaska to South America… yes, we have seen a lot. And a lot of what we saw is no longer there.

In February just the two of us went to Mexico for a two-week trip. In Mexico City we had dinner with the Mexican sculptor SEBASTIAN and his wife Gabriela. We also had dinner with several members of the Boy Scout group George had stayed with almost sixty years ago. From there we flew to Puerto Vallarta and took a car north to Rincon de Guayabitos where we had a hotel room right on the beach. It was a very relaxing time.

In June David joined us and we three traveled by car down the Oregon Coast with no agenda nor dates we had to be any place special. In October George went to Japan for the 50th anniversary of the Bellingham-Tateyama Sister City relationship. There he slept on the floor ate lots of raw fish and had the experience of dressing in a Samurai costume and participating in the annual Satomi Festival parade.

From Japan George went to Korea where he met with the Mexican Ambassador to Korea, the US Ambassador to Korea and other dignitaries to discuss the placement of a major sculpture that our Mexican friend SEBASTIAN was donating to Korea to serve as the Korean War Children’s Memorial (Korean counterpart to the Korean War Children’s Memorial George established in Big Rock Garden Park here in Bellingham.)

Grandson Cyle is new-out of the hospital and his leukemia is in remission. David had his lunch time job disappear on campus but he has been offered another one but at a different time, from 5 to 7:30 p.m. He doesn’t seem to upset about that. He and Beth still spend lots of time together, which is nice as she is a great gal.

We both delight in the election of Barak Obama as our next President and feel that he will be able to help reestablish a better image of the US in the world and help make the world safer for all people, rich or poor, where ever they live. It will be a hard job and a long one to undo the terrible damage this last administration has effected on our national prestige around the world.

This is the season when the carolers sing “Peace on Earth, Good Will to Men.” We pray that such will be true, sooner rather than later. Our love to you all.