Holiday Newsletters

December, 1990

Holiday Greetings!

How was the start of the decade for you and yours?  It was good year for the Bishops.

The building project started in October of 1989 is almost done now!  To upgrade the inside to match the new outside, we also painted some bedrooms.  Jefferson started his room with plate removal, spackling, sanding, and masking.  I was impressed!  Then he started to paint the trim and the alarm on this watch went off.  Of course he looked at his watch.  SPLOOSH.  About ten minutes later he opened the door and bumped the stool on which the paint can had been resting.  SPLOOSH.  I did most of the remaining trim, but he came back for the rolling.  The rest was uneventful.
     Sara started her room late on a Sunday afternoon.  Great timing.  Her trusty assistants were Shannon and the boyfriend.  A serious work ethic was not running rampant.  I ended up doing a lot of detail work on missed spots and slopped woodwork, but they did do a majority of the work.  Other than the teenage point of view that if you wear good clothes you will be more careful (which drove me nuts), it went smoothly.  An now it too is done.  Phew.

A major highlight of 1990 was a family trip to Cancun, Mexico, in March with two other families.  The usual getaway from cold and kids included the kids this year, nine of them.  Six of us went to Cozumel to scuba-dive, a first experience for the two 13-year-olds, Shannon and Josh Doughty.  The kids enjoyed the beach, the mall, Hard Rock Cafe, ordering McPollo at McDonald's, parasailing, snorkling, basketball in the pool, Mayan ruins at Chichen Itsa, spending pesos, and swimming in a cave.

The decade didn't start out well for John when in January he somehow contracted  serious staph infection in his knee.  To surgeries, six weeks of home IV, and physical therapy slowed him down for a while, but by summer he was back playing golf.  Just how racketball and basketball will go still remains to be seen.  (Isn't this paragraph the kind of thing we are supposed to be writing in 30 or 40 years when we are OLD?)

Prior to elections in the fall, John, ever the political enthusiast, sparred for several weeks on the editorial page with the local newspaper editor.  It made for interesting reading for the community and lively dinner conversations at home.  Despite his grumbling about contributing to the increased circulation of the paper, I really think he loved the whole episode.

Our kids' scheduled activities basically dictate our lives.  Is it that way for most families?  I'd like to think we're not the only ones.  I guess there could be worse things!  Both girls remain active in golf, volleyball, and German lessons.  Sara now works at the local public library but still finds time for Mock Trial, Student Council, Citizen Bee, Speech and band.  Shannon has French lessons, gymnastics, choir, and most wonderful of all, she likes to cook!  Jefferson plays lots of golf and baseball in the summer, and this year he biked 150 miles with me from St. Paul to St. Cloud and back.  Football, basketball, band, and piano keep him busy during the school year.

I never seem to get too far from the school scene even though I quit working there four years ago.  A recent complaint heard in our house was that Mom goes to more meetings now than when she was working .  Almost true.  Last spring I worked to help get a bond issue passed for a new school in Annandale.  It did.  In the fall I chaired the Middle School Steering Committee, and now I'm on the district Curriculum Committee.  Then there's Mock Trial (I'm the advisor) and teaching an adult illiterate man to read.  As the saying goes, it keeps me outta trouble.

As I write, Charlie the cockatiel sits on my shoulder.  He is the newest family member and our first feathered one.   Officially, he is Jefferson's early birthday present, obtained from a neighbor in college whose roommate didn't like him.  (We agreed to taking him before giving that fact much thought, but he's a fine fellow so far.)  He whistles "shave and a haircut" adequately and has a mean wolf whistle, but his "Popeye the Sailor Man" is barely recognizable.

The family Christmas is in Minnesota this year, so we're hoping for a mild, picturesque holiday for the visiting southerners, my mother and brother.  My sister, Jean, and her daughter, Michelle, won't be with us this year because they are spending several months in Zihuatanejo, Mexico, sunning and scuba-diving.  It sounds wonderful to me!

These are good years.  John and I frequently remark that as busy and hectic as it usually is around here, still these are good years.  We have the usual ups and downs, but the good times far outweigh the bad.  We are very blessed.

All the Bishops wish you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

John, Jill, Sara (16), Shannon (15), and Jefferson (11)