Saturday, December 05, 2009

Christmas Blog 2009

When I wrote this missive a year ago, I was in the last stages of planning a trip out West to visit friends and family for the holidays. In fact, I was away almost the entire month of December and the trip was a real odyssey. While I was there, the folks from California to Washington were experiencing some of the toughest winter weather in many years and the cities of Portland and Seattle were basically closed. After spending a delightful 2½ weeks visiting friends in the beautiful San Francisco Bay Area, my path led me north up I-5 through snow-packed mountain passes and into the fog-shrouded and ice-covered roads of northern Oregon. Apparently, the locals don't know much about snow plows and road salt and even less about winter driving. The last leg of my trip from Redding, CA to Portland, OR, which should have only taken 6½ hours, took nearly 12 hours. Thankfully, Mr. Hertz who rented me my transportation, knew better and put me into a Ford Escape instead of the tiny, economy car I had ordered. Driving the last 30 miles into Portland at 15 mph on 3-inches of ice made me thankful for that decision.

Having the Christmas holidays in completely different surroundings was rewarding and delightful. Sister Mary, who was my reason for traveling to Portland, was a wonderful host and we had a great week of visiting and sightseeing. Although the weather could have been better, we did enjoy having a White Christmas, although many Oregonians told me I should take my snow and...leave immediately.

I returned to a very cold and snowy Northeast, but spring eventually arrived on time. Summer on the East Coast was almost non-existent this year and we had enough rain for five summers. Needless to say, there was not much outdoor summer activity until the mid August when the weather changed. Gratefully, we've had one of the best falls of recent memory. I was playing golf up until the middle of November, and although we've had more rain, the temperature the other day, December 3rd broke a record of 65ยบ here in Augusta.

It is snowing as I post this on Saturday night. Ah, New England!

This was a tough year for a lot of folks. Between economic failings, job losses and that H1N1 thing, there has certainly been enough suffering. Fortunately, everyone in my circle of friends and family have remained healthy and getting by. I hope it has been the same for you and yours.

As we approach this special season - the Season of Light - and look into the new year, I am hoping that things improve for everyone and that we have left the darkest days behind us.

I pray that your Christmas season is blessed and equally hopeful. May you find peace and happiness in the New Year.

John Eric Brandt

Image licensed through Creative Commons - Tochis/Flickr

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