Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Holiday letter.

Usually for the past 20 years or so I have written a holiday letter and enclosed it with our card. This year, it felt remarkably lightening to know that I could skip the letter because anyone interested could read my blog and get most of the picture. Tonight I came home and opened five cards, each with their own letter. So here's the letter I wrote but did not send.

"Whether it was the primaries and then the election itself, or the steady unraveling of the financial environment, we have seen significant change in 2008 -- and more change, happily, is on the way!

Leroy has become the first “Hanauer Honors Professor of Western Civilization” at the University of Washington. It’s a two year appointment that allows him not only do special work with honors students, but also create a new course called "The Traditions of Justice." He spent a week or so in residence at Johns Hopkins University last spring. He continues to write and arrange music, and host the Ravenna Brass Ensemble each Sunday afternoon here at home. He took the Harley and three trumpets to Walla Walla this summer for “Midsummer Musical Madness.” And his custom motorcycle continues to take shape in the garage/shop.

We returned from a trip to the Modern Language Conference in Chicago in early January, then visited Cassandra and Sabrina and their families in Phoenix in late February. While in Arizona, we drove up to Carefree to have a wonderful Sunday brunch with cousins Ann Newman and her sister Margaret Newman Crawford, and Bill Crawford. In June, Leroy and I flew to Iowa City for a reunion of 42 Hayes cousins celebrating the birthday of 1142 East Court, my cousin Jim Hayes' remarkable Historic Register home that escaped any damage from the terrible Iowa floods.

I flew to DC in March to present a keynote address on pandemic flu for a federal regulators conference, and continue to represent the financial sector in regional critical infrastructure work sessions. I've opted to stay at JPMorgan Chase through March, and then take some time to visit family and old friends on other coasts with my camera,at least partly by train. I am looking at the nonprofit and/or government arenas for my next adventure. After working through several nasty injuries earlier in 2008, I completed a second 3 Day Walk for breast cancer in mid-September, and brought my fundraising total to nearly $47,000 over the past two years. I just signed up for the 2009 walk!

Cassandra and Sabrina and their families live just outside Phoenix, both still working in the real estate industry. All six grandchildren are healthy and extremely interesting, active individuals – though their parents seem even more active in both professional and community affairs.

James moved to Pittsburgh in late July, to take up graduate studies at Carnegie Mellon University. He’ll finish a master’s degree this spring, and is in the process of applying to Ph.D. programs. He flew to Stockholm in September to present a paper at an international conference on metaphor, which is being published as part of the proceedings. He's in his element. He’ll travel to Washington D.C. in January, for the inauguration of Barack Obama, and send back photos and impressions for my blog. Being physically present at remarkable events in our nation's history is a Searle tradition. We wish personal peace, clarity and good health for each of you in the new year."

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