Tuesday, January 14, 2014

2005 - The growing Definition of Family

2005 card

Greg and Dixie at South Beach
Austin in Smith River in Kayak he bought
Emerson at Fort Dick Stables

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Happy Holidays once again,

     I can hostly look back at 2005 with a smile and say that one more year has given us the gift of health and family.  I'd love to say we were also rolling in dough from wining a $300,000,000 lottery - but - oops that was some dude up the road in Medford.  Oh Well, I'd rather have Greg and Austin and Emerson and a truckload of debt than his riches without them.  Most days anyway.
     Some of you I have heard from this year, Thank you.  I know it's hard to find the time to call ir write or visit.  The rest, I hope are well and reasonably happy?  There are several good days each December when every day's mail brings the news of some friend or relative, but the rest of the year flies by so quickly that the best efforts I make toward staying in touch seems to be a smile and a fleeting thought - "It's ________'s birthday." or, "remember when we did ________ with ________?"  Now we keep an old oatmeal box and through the year we all drop in slips of paper listing the things we're thankful for, to read together on Thanksgiving.  Often those slips are about the people we send Christmas cards to.  In this crazy world where it is so easy to make connections, but so difficult to keep them, we especially value those of you with shared memories and family ties.
Battery point light
     Family.  In the end that is what it is all about after all, those people you can count on for supper and laughter and more honesty than you really would want to have to face alone.  I love how my definition of family keeps stretching.  When I was a child, "family" was etched in stone and unchanging.  It was me, (I came first) Mom, Dad and Brett.  Then it expanded to "Family" beyond the immediate family, cousins and Great-Grandmas and that was OK too.  Then Lane was born and that was more than OK, that was a giant Tony-the-Tiger style GRRReat!  So my  definition of family allowed new members to join in - but was in for a real jolt when some of them died.  I hadn't accounted for that.  Then I met Greg and immediate family stretched a lot - there are a lot of Goode's!  But it wasn't until Austin and Emerson came along that I began to realize that I no longer wanted to come first, and that the daycare family could be as dependable and loving as the birth family.  Then the world flipped, in my eyes at least - suddenly I realized how much everybody else's children would effect the world my children lived in, from the friends they made to the dangers they would encounter - and the Sioux words which take the place of "Amen" began to take on meaning - Mitakuye Oyasin - "all my Relations" meaning the whole world, all of the blades of grass, the drops of sea water, the children of the annoying neighbor - everyone is my family.  And isn't that what Christmas means anyway?

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     For us, this has been a year spent mostly at home.  This isn't the norm for us, but it has been kind-of nice.  Instead of a big, expensive trip this summer, we stayed close to Crescent City and spent a few days camping, a lot of days swimming in the river, although not enough days cleaning the house and dealing with the maintenance issues we are so good ar ignoring.  How many years in a row can you have the same New Year's Resolution?  I'm thinking this makes ten for me.
     Anyway, a summary of our lives right now would find me still reading too much, writing some but still not selling anything, taking a writer's conference in September, having my Mom and Lance out to visit this summer, taking care of the parrots, greyhounds, cats and fish as well as providing "Mom's Taxi Service" for Austin, Emerson and friends.  I still substitute teach and love it but it really doesn't pay enough.
     Greg still teaches music and is in the middle of the fourth year directing the Crescent City Youth Choir that he Co-Founded.  He's thinking seriously about trying out for the local theater's "Fiddler on the Roof" this spring but he still has trouble with vocal chord nodes and that makes his voice cut out.  I know he very much misses the creative energy of performing.
     Austin has moved into Junior High at redwood, but since it's a K-8 school his class is fairly small.  His English teacher is highly demanding and would probably give this letter a D, but he gets a lot from her class and really likes all of his other teachers.  He was on the school football team, flag football, and really did well.  He also started Refereeing Youth Soccer as well as playing.  He made enough money to buy himself a Kayak.
supposed to be Pt. St. George light
     Emerson just finished two concerts in the youth choir and his voice is very nice.  He's adjusting his violin from Suzuki method to reading notes and playing some barn rocking fiddle tunes.  He also takes horse riding lessons, this is his third year, and he is as crazy about Star Wars as anyone.  Emerson invented a new Ball Game called "Star Square" that 1/2 the kids on his recess play, and have for a couple months. It combines four-square with Star Wars role playing, each square is for a different character and you earn abilities and power.
Some of the Goode Cousins
at Wendy and John's in Laramie WY
I want to wish you all a warm, love-filled Christmas with happy memories around you and the chance to make many more.

With Love,

Dixie, Greg, Austin and Emerson
Austin at Grandma Mimi's house

Crescent City Youth Choir
Greg directing, Emerson far right

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