VOLUME IV, NUMBER iI: 2022
THE "AFTER TIMES"
While by no means the Roaring Twenties of the last century, it feels like we have finally entered the “after times” -- après pandemic as it were. After what seemed like a very long time, we got out and did some visiting this year – and we were visited by friends for the first time since the “before times.”
NO PLACE LIKE HOME (MANITOBA)
We were able to spend two weeks in Manitoba in July. It gave us a chance for a number of good visits with Paul’s dad and catch up with his brother and family along with some friends in the city we had not seen in years. We also ventured into Western Manitoba to see more family everywhere from Boissevain to Morden. The central attraction was the annual camping weekend with Elaine’s siblings on the Routledge Family Farm – or CampFarm – just outside of Oakner.
Cousins, nieces, the nephew, in-laws and outlaws all joined in, with lots of storytelling around the campfire. The blustery overnight rain and windstorm will become a story to tell next year. We’re planning to be back for another July holiday in Manitoba in 2023.
NO PLACE LIKE HOME (WASHINGTON)
Back here in Olympia, we hosted old friends from Alberta – Lynne Rach and her friend Rodger and James and Leanne Hill – on separate visits. We met Lynne when Paul was at the University of Calgary and James and Paul have known each other for as long they can remember, probably meeting at age 3 or so. In both cases, the conversations picked up where they left off years ago, bouncing between memories of past glory days and hopes for future adventures. (There may have also been a smattering of political talk on the side.) We also started what may well become a new tradition with new friends John and Mandy who just moved back to the states after seven years in Vancouver. When we first met, John said that his family planned to celebrate both Thanksgivings (particularly given that their youngest daughter was born in Canada), something we have been doing for two decades. We hosted them for Canadian turkey day this year and have already been invited to their place for next year.
Elaine has been working from home for three years now but it has not stopped the clock at the University of Washington. In November, she received her 30-year service certificate and pin.
She started in the ICU of UW’s Harborview Medical Center in 1992 and moved into the first of a number of roles with what is now known at UW Medicine Information Technology Services (ITS) in 2000.
The work remains challenging (even and maybe especially when much of it is done over Zoom) but she does not miss the commute.
January will mark 21 years for Paul as a work from home guy with the media and research company he joined in 2002. The company went completely virtual when the pandemic hit and now, for something completely different, the founder has embarked on a new adventure after selling to a private equity firm.
AND a wedding put a bow on the year
The year ended delightfully with a quick visit to Albuquerque, New Mexica for a wedding. We met the bride, Carrie, when she was about 3 or so. The daughter of friends who date back to Paul’s days working for state government, it was so good to be with the family again and share in a remarkable day.
We lost a couple of good ones this year.
Elaine's uncle Glen Spratt died early in the year - January 4 - at the age of 90. Glen was the beloved husband of Shirley, father of Cheryl, Ross and Colleen.
Known for a very dry sense of humor, he would often tease Shirley that he liked when we visited because it meant he finally got fed.
Paul's uncle John (Ger) Toews died in October. Intense, funny (with an infectious laugh) and selectively secretive, John was our international man of mystery. The secretive part was related to a long career with the Mounties and, we think, the intelligence community. He held posts as a RCMP attaché to Canadian Embassies and High Commissions in Bonn, Beirut and Bogota among other places. Oh the stories he could not tell - but he spun intriguing yarns around those he could. A cousin referred to him affectionately as "My uncle the spy." That's the way we'll remember him too.
post script: music can be good for the soul
As a bonus, we treated ourselves to a performance of Handel's Messiah by Symphony Tacoma and its chorus. Powerful stuff. And hopeful too.
Wishing you a happy and hopeful new year.
Wishing you a happy and hopeful new year.