MELE KALIKIMAKA

We still appreciate all the cards and letters we receive from those who remain loyal to the United States Postal Service.  Seriously, we do.  We just don’t want to work that hard ourselves anymore.  By the way, the season once again raises that eternal question . . . why is it that I like boy choirs but don’t care for boy bands?

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Kona, Hawaii (above), November 30, 2015, photo by T. Obert.   Be there!  Aloha!

OK, it’s Christmas letter time again.  Like when the end of November rolls around and you feel like a term paper is due.  But this end of November we went away . . . for two weeks. You can tell to where by the title of this missive, which will bear no relationship to anything contained herein. Why?  Because I don’t have enough time to process the thousand-some Hawaii photos in time to meet the holiday deadline.  They will be presented in later additions (I know, you can hardly wait).  Oh, and the following photo has absolutely nothing to do with this post other than . . . I just like it (and it applies to me).

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[Editor’s note:  Throughout I will use the pejorative terms “I” and “me” when referring to myself; I will use the term “we” when referring to Ruthie and me in the sense that this will be a combined missive; and I will use the term “the Super” when referring to the person in charge.]

Christmas letters are designed to make you recall what has happened since the last time you wrote a Christmas letter.  I.e., what have you done in the last year that could possibly be of the least bit of interest to anyone who didn’t live it themselves.  So, for most of us, that would be not much.  But we soldier on.  I have a blog.  I can look back and see what happened and think . . . really?  What I discovered, and what I sometimes forget (I’m sure it happens to you, too?), is did that really happen this year?  Aside from the usual plethora of theater, music, and sports always available to us in the greater Alexandria metropolitan area, I discovered we took three significant road trips this year and two other trips that required crossing expansive patches of ocean.  Oh, and I had my 50th class reunion this year, something that only comes around 50 years after you have graduated from high school.

The following requires further explanation.  We were looking for a Christmas video but Lennon’s “So This Is Christmas” wasn’t quite ready for prime time.  So, we went with a tried and true, and keeping with the Supervisor’s designated theme, just substitute “Hawaii” for “Biloxi”:

The year, in pictures . . .

MARCH

[Remember this?  It’s called snow.  And a reminder that Jami and Danny have been living with us for over a year now and are settled Alexandrians.]

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[Our first road trip, mid-March, through South Dakota on the way to St. George, Utah, at the invite of Jeanne and Ken Howell.]

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[Through the Oregon Trail in Wyoming, Colorado (stopping to visit Aunt Pearl in Loveland and the relatively snowless ski areas of the state), and on to the national parks of Utah . . . ]

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[Then with Jeanne and Ken in St. George, where girls just want to have fun!]

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[Ultimately leading to hiking Zion National Park with – guess who? -fellow Alexandrians, Kathleen and Bruce Pohlig.  In the last photo, Bruce is explaining that they came by air.]

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[Yes, we went to Vegas one day (because it was in the vicinity).]

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[On the way home, we stopped at Robert Redford’s Sundance Resort in Utah . . . ]

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[Then it was on to the Black Hills, Mt. Rushmore, and Crazy Horse (our first visit there).]

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APRIL

[Back home, yard work with Jami, and getting into the swing of things at the golf club and the winery before . . . ]

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[We were winging our way to our next grand adventure, a river cruise from Budapest to Bucharest.]

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[We spent our first three days in Prague . . .]

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[My signature pose over the city; and Ruthie with her sister Rita and friend Karen, who had joined us on day two.]

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[Then our last day in Prague.]

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[On the road to Budapest, pay to pee.]

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[From our hotel room in Budapest, looking across the Danube at the Buda Castle. We’ve had worse views.]

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[Joined here by fellow cruisers, the Gross family of Anne and Bill, and Bert and Kathy, who first went to Vienna rather than Prague . . .]

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[The above photo we’re leaving Budapest heading to the next stop in Hungary.  Below, Rita is with our boat’s program guide, Cornelia, who just happened to be in that same position on our Southern France cruise the year before!]

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[Croatia was next . . .]

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[Then Serbia . . . ]

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[Then we cruised through the Danube’s Iron Gate . . . ]

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MAY

[Bulgaria, anyone? . . . ]

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[And finally, Romania . . . ]

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JUNE

[Summertime at home.  Lake Carlos clouds, Father’s Day, the Super and Jami with fellow Hoosier, Don Shelby, as Mark Twain at Theatre L’Homme Dieu, and my old high school was torn down.]

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JULY

[Grandson Tom and fellow Purdue undergrad and close personal friend Celia came for a while.]

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[We celebrated the golf club’s 100th anniversary and our usual summer music venues.]

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[We took a new route to Camp Brosius, Ruthie’s Indiana University alumni camp in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.]

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AUGUST

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[Our first road trip to Minnesota’s great north country.]

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SEPTEMBER

[A Gopher football game lounging in the President’s Suite.]

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[Grape Stomp]

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OCTOBER

[50th reunion on Homecoming weekend.]

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[Applefest with Dad Hasz and the twins (Megan and Bethany will be running for Gophers next year); Halloween with Anthony Miltich and Lisa Lynn.]

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NOVEMBER/DECEMBER

We spent the week before Thanksgiving on Maui; the week after on the Big Island.  Photos from Maui (except for the last day) have disappeared into celluloid heaven for reasons unknown – I suspect it’s an international travel agency plot to get me to go back there!  But . . .

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR AND, HEY, LET’S DO IT ALL AGAIN NEXT YEAR!

Santa Claus wears a Red Suit, he must be a communist. And a beard and long hair, must be a pacifist.  What’s in that pipe that he’s smoking?  ~  Arlo Guthrie

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3 Responses to MELE KALIKIMAKA

  1. Sue Mueller Engstrom from MN! says:

    How do you ever pack for a river cruise with such a variety of weather???

  2. Al says:

    Thank you Tom and Ruthie. So that’s where you two have been! You’re still beautiful (Ruthie).

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