Holiday Newsletters

December, 1995

Dear Friends and Family,

The Bishops had no graduations in 1995, thankfully, but it was still a year of transitions. John turned fifty, I got trifocals, Sara can now legally drink, Jefferson can legally drive, and Shannon...Shannon got her navel pierced. Remember, she goes to school in Los Angeles -- it could have been a lot worse!

Our theme for the year might have been sailing: a new ocean for John and me and sailing lessons in Florida last August (see the picture!) for the five Bishops. In January John and I sailed in the Kingdom of Tonga in the South Pacific with Hal and Wenngatz of Annandale and Bill and Judy Neill (college friends) of Ripon, Wisconsin. It was a tropical paradise, a fourth world nation entering the modern world (though not too quickly), and we had a trip of a lifetime.

Our kids much longer can I call them that?... having missed out on the last three adults-only sailing trips, are anxious to charter a sailboat as a family now that we are all certified sailors.

While we were in Florida we just missed Hurricane Erin, but back home the tail of a twister picked up our powerboat, lift, and dock and turned them on their side out in the lake. Our house was untouched and so was the rest of the town--it was bizarre! Our sailing instructor was convinced that it was a sign we should stick to sailing and forget about motorboats.

Sara, 21, is still at Grinnell College in Iowa majoring in German. She added varsity golf and piano lessons to her school schedule, and she spent the summer in Berlin on a fellowship studying the effect of the reunification on German women. Shannon, 19, is still at Occidental College in LA majoring in Marine Biology, and she loves being goalie on Oxy's water polo team. Jefferson, 16, also has a busy extra-curricular schedule, mostly music and sports, but his favorite activity of all is still basketball. At a mere 6'1", he wishes that Santa could bring him just a few more inches. His post-season basketball schedule of tournaments last spring included 30 games, but it was good conditioning for the triathalon in July and his summer construction job at Lakedale.

My schooling finally has some direction since I started the MLS (Master of Liberal Studies) program at the University of Minnesota last spring. It is interdisciplinary and largely self-directed, and I intend to take just one evening class at a time, savoring each one, so I still have time for my clarinet playing, gardening, biking, and family and friends.

Competition in the telecommunications business gets more intense each year since deregulation, and this year John's company added a long distance carrier with internet service. (Wait for their solicitation to switch to Lakedale Link during your next meal.) Away from work he has joined several boards this year including the Wright County Economic Development Partnership, the School Technology Committee, and the Wright County Health Foundation. But his greatest pleasures still come from golf, the quick junkets to Las Vegas with the "boys," and vicarious participation in his son's sports career.

This time of our lives finds us with increased interest in reconnecting with old friends and distant family members. Last summer John's niece and nephew and their families, including our newly adopted great-niece from China, traveled to Annandale from their homes in Montana and Virginia. We were joined by his sister and mother for part of the week, and we are hoping that the gathering was the first of an annual event. Most of my family will be in Minnesota this holiday season once again. Although my brother and his family are unable to join us this year, my sister and hers will be here, along with my mother, of course, the matriarch of us all.

While our family's whirlwind of activities are still whirling most of the time, each year we're getting a clearer perspective of what is meaningful and appreciating the time spent with family and friends over all else. Christmastime helps us focus on that most important aspect of our lives, and with that the Bishops wish you

Peace, Love, and Joy

This Holiday Season

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John, Jill,

Sara, Shannon, and Jefferson