Sunday, December 26, 2010

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Merry Christmas, 2010

Dear All,

I was the big news this year—or at least my heart attack was. It came as a surprise while we were on our transatlantic cruise in April. When it hit, I thought I was just having a hard time cooling down after a mild walk around the deck. My heart was clicking at 207 beats/minute, and I couldn’t stop sweating. The cruise doctors stabilized me and patched me up enough so that I could get back to Danville, but pretty soon after that I was getting operated on, open heart surgery in fact. (If you want to read about the heart attack cruise, just click here.)

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It took a while to build myself back up after that, but I’m happy to say that at this point I’m pretty much back to my old self, exercising and writing (I’ve finished my second novel Suitcase Charlie and am looking for a literary agent) and shoveling the snow and all of that other stuff.

And except for that bump in the road, we’ve all been doing pretty well. Lillian and Luciana bought a house, a beautiful two-story brick not far from us and near George Washington High School where Lillian teaches English and advises the school newspaper. When she’s not there, Lillian’s been painting and decorating her new home, and Luciana has been running around her house and playing in their enormous family room.

We’re all enjoying watching Luciana figure out all the stuff that she can do as she gets closer and closer to the Big Two. She loves to carry around books and ask us to read to her, and we love to accommodate her. She also likes to dance and play ball and knock down blocks and walk around with her blanket on her shoulder and her favorite doll Blah-blah in her hands. We can’t wait until Christmas morning and the new toys she’ll be getting from Santa, especially the Thomas the Tank Engine train.

Linda and I – even with all the time spent on my health – have done a lot of traveling this year. Beside our transatlantic heart attack cruise, we’ve enjoyed cruising on the Celebrity Solstice to the Caribbean with our wonderful neighbors Kathy and Mike and more recently exploring Columbia, Panama, and Costa Rica on the Jewel of the Sea. The photo of us in crash helmets is from a white water rafting adventure on that last cruise.

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And we’re planning more trips for the new year. Linda’s checking flights and cruises and accommodations. She’s hoping to set up one trip for each month next year! So far she’s got us heading first to Connecticut in January to see Mabel and Tony and all the Calendrillos there and then the Caribbean in February. After that, I’m hoping to talk her into looking for a European trip. It’s been almost ten years since we’ve visited Rome or Paris or London.

By the way, we’ve also been to Las Vegas this year. I was trying not to mention the two trips we took because we didn’t do as well this year as last, but we did have a great time nonetheless traveling with our Valdosta friends James and Susan (Barron) LaPlant and Mabel and Tony Calendrillo.

When Linda’s not planning our trips, she volunteers at the Danville Free Clinic. This is her second year there, and she really loves helping folks without medical coverage to find the care they need. She also enjoys helping out with Luciana whenever she can. Recently, Linda’s started taking Luciana to the public library here, and both of them love playing with the books and the toys and the puzzles and children there.

It’s been a great year (except for that bump in the road I mentioned earlier), and we hope that all our friends find as much happiness in the coming year as we’ve found this last year.

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