We hope the past year has been as joyful for you as it has for us.
I honestly cannot believe that Travis and I turned 80 years old and in June observed our 60th wedding anniversary. We celebrated with a “small” family reunion for about 75. We continue to be blessed with good health and plenty to keep us busy. Travis spends a lot of time driving his tractor and mowing the kids’ yards, while I love working in the garden and cooking. Our oldest child, Ramona, age 59 (I know she will appreciate my mentioning her age), freely admits that Travis and I can still “work circles around her.” She also complains my memory is “much too good” and asks that I “please stop sharing stories” about her younger years with her children. “Really Mom,” protests Ramona, “it just isn’t helpful to have my daughter tell me that according to Grandma, you were pretty wild when you were my age.” (Ah, payback is sweet!)
I think being a voracious reader has helped to keep my mind sharp. As my children grew up, they passed along their old books to me. Finally, Ramona suggested I check out our small county library. (Actually she refers to it as “her library,” since she thinks it is her overdue fines that helped them build a new wing.) So at 79, I got my first library card! Mona admits she has mixed emotions about sharing her library with me because since I “joined up” all the newest books (the 14-day books) seem to be in limited supply. She said every time she walks into the library someone says, “Why, your mom was just here!”
But I have much more news to share about why this year has been filled with joy. Our youngest daughter Caroline delivered twins on October 25, 2011—a boy and a girl. (Yes, Caroline herself was a bit of a surprise as she and Ramona are 16 years apart in age!) Evva Kate (their 4-year-old sister) wanted to name them “Doggie” and “Kitty,” but they were christened with the family names of “Norian Travis” and “Lucinda Jean.” Born about a month early, little Lucy’s medical problems kept her in the hospital until Feb 29, 2012. She may take a while to catch up to her brother in weight, but she is a real fighter. Having babies around again makes us “mature” family members feel younger, and Evva Kate is a wonderful big sister. (If you look closely at the family picture you can see the twins only have eyes for their beloved “Big Sis”!) Naturally, everyone in the family helps out when they can. Aunt Ramona even bought a car seat for her car. However she is not fond of people asking her how she is enjoying her grandchild.
Son Mike is still putting about 150 miles a week on his bike. (That’s about 6,000 miles a year!) Making pottery also remains a favorite hobby of many family members. We display their wares at our bakery and most dinners involve a discussion of throwing techniques and glazes. Mike, Scott and Norian all make wheel-thrown, functional pottery and Ramona describes her hand-built pottery as, “non-functional and very weird.” Travis also had to get in on the creative action, so he displays his handcrafted walking sticks. He does a lot of his scouting for potential canes while he is out “riding the trails” on his tractor.
Our youngest Cookie Tasters (Isabella, Fiona, and Evva Kate) continue to excel at their jobs. Madison (Cookie Taster Emeritus) just graduated from High Point University, the same university Travis graduated from 58 years ago. She will move to Chicago this fall to attend Law school at DePaul University. We will miss her very much, but fortunately she has lots of Templin Cousins in the Chicago area. We have promised to keep them supplied with cookies if they will keep a close eye on her. “She is going to miss me soooo much,” says Mona, her mom. But I suspect I know who will be doing most of the “missing.” Grandson Jed has added piano skills to his guitar playing. He had a keyboard for practice, but was missing the feel of a “real” piano. Ramona recalled that Mike took piano lessons thirty plus years ago. (She says she remembers it so vividly, “because Mike would play the same song over and over and over.”) Mike politely ignored his sister’s comment and gave his old piano to Jed. After Jed evicted the family of mice that lived inside, the piano sounded just fine!
Quite a Year!
All in all, it has been quite a year! Time marches on, (much too quickly for my taste), but I focus my efforts on savoring each moment and treasuring each child or grandchild. I wish you boundless joy and good health in the coming year. May you have the time and take the time to cherish all of your special moments and dear ones. We certainly cherish having you as a customer and as a friend.