Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of you! I’m not sure exactly of how to begin this year’s letter, as it all seems so uninteresting in retrospect, so I will borrow a few opening lines from great literary works in history to tell the story of what happened to us in 2012.
“2012 was the best of times, and it was the worst of times…”
We said goodbye to our old dog, Dakota. She died this past winter and was a loyal companion for many years. Also, we said goodbye to an old car, my 1962 Galaxie. In general we all had good health, good fortune, and good times. Allwin and Seth went to state in Duo Interp together and brought back the only “State Championship” hardware for the school and for them in their high school careers…yea!
“It was a dark and stormy night…”
We had our first snow storm last weekend and everyone is thankful for an upcoming white Xmas. Otherwise, we are still in the middle of a drought and I seem to have forgotten what color green is or what rain looks like. Not a good year to have a lawn mowing business, flowers, a garden, or a lake cabin with receding water.
“The moment one learns English, complications set in.”
The boys spent an entire month at Swedish language camp, and Lauren spent two weeks at Sjolunden near Bemidji Minnesota as well. Brad and Sarah spent two weeks learning the ways of the French in a house exchange, learning words like moules (mussels).
“He was an old man who fished alone in a skiff in the Gulf Stream and he had gone eighty-four days now without taking a fish.”
Well not quite, as Brad went to Canada and had marvelous fishing and blueberry picking. Sarah and the kids caught some fish at our cabin. Summer is always nice at Enemy Swim lake.
“In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since.”
We all learned some lessons we could give as advice. Sarah learned what to use to get two fingers glued with super glue released. Brad learned that if a car is backing up off a car trailer and he is holding on to the bumper, he should let go. Seth and Allwin both learned the objective of hunting season is not to shoot barbed wire fences. Brad also learned that he needs to lift his feet as he steps over door jams. Lauren learned that braces aren’t so much fun.
“On my naming day when I come 12 I gone front spear and kilt a wyld boar he parbly ben the las wyld pig on the Bundel Downs any how there hadnt ben none for a long time befor him nor I aint looking to see none agen.”
It wasn’t a wild boar, and he was 17, but Allwin shot his first deer this fall.
“I will tell you in a few words who I am: lover of the hummingbird that darts to the flower beyond the rotted sill where my feet are propped”
Ok, Brad is really nuts and has gone ‘loony’. He started a “Big Year” in August, if you don’t know what that is, watch the movie (same name). Brad’s plan has a little twist to it and he WILL set a world record, this twist is top secret but it will end up as an adventure book, so it won’t be secret forever. The book is at 100 pages so far. Be afraid if you see Brad carrying binoculars and knocking at your door, be very afraid. Brad is already at nearly 300 birds since August.
“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen”
Although not totally in April, we spent a good deal of time this last year touring colleges. One of the trips was marred by Allwin and Seth having an attack of cookie gluttony with an unfortunate cookie hangover, courtesy of Rippin’ Good cookies. Lauren even got into the act and has decided she wants to go to SD School of Mines and Technology as it is near her favorite restaurant. Brad even toured Fort Hays State and Wichita State by himself in Kansas apparently looking for shirts or so he said. The final choices are….drum roll please, Ripon College, Gustavus Adolphus, Luther College of Decorah, Iowa, and SD School of Mines. They have been accepted to all of them, and it is now down to money and what they really want. Do you know what YOU really want? Yea, thought so. This will take a few months.
“All this happened, more or less”
Sarah climbed a mountain on her birthday. Brad and the boys toured an art museum in Iowa and made them look at all the pieces. Sarah and Brad went to a prairie chicken lek at dawn on a cold April day. We visited our Swedish friends in Stockholm as a family and had fun courtesy of Volvo. Life at the house, cabin, St Martin, everywhere else: sixteen states, eight countries, too many airplanes, road signs…it was all good, and now it is almost 2013 and we have to start all over again.
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, New Year Cheers, my friends
“Olaf,” Brad, Sarah, Allwin, Seth , and Lauren
PS: If you can name one of the novels in bold I gave the opening lines from, you are smart, all of them…you need a life!