My Christmas Letter 2005; a Review of the Past and a Glimpse of the Future.
This year Don’s main accomplishment was reaching 76 and almost retiring from the wine business. Irene isn’t talking about age. We are in the process of turning over our business to someone else and we plan to become freeloaders. It’s another career change. It reactivates the old question " what do you want to be when you grow up ? " Out projects will now focus on growing vegetables, walking the dog, eating delicious things, reading , attending concerts, a bit of travel and trying to stay healthy. Don will continue trying to figure out how the world should be run. No one will listen so it’s a fairly safe hobby.
Don’s Observations : The toughest thing for me to figure out this past year has been globalization. The economiist and MBA’s in Brussels tell me that instead of eating fresh things that grow in France I should be willing to eat the same things arriving from other parts of the world because it is the right thing to do. My farming neighbours doen’t agree because some think they will go broke; but I guess this is good because some poor guy working for an oligarch in a far away country and earning 50 cents an hour will keep his job and our prices will be lower in the supermarket. My only problem is that these imported things don’t taste very good. I understand that scientists working for Monsanto can now genetically modify and replicate just about everything from sheep to prunes. For example, it is well known that the zuchini is the fastest growing vegetable in the world. I was reading in a supermarché publication that they can grow three to six feet and gain about 50 pounds in a day under genetic modification. For this reason I suspect they can convert them to look like cucumbers, tomatoes, peaches, cabbages, apples and even strawberries. And they are perfectly shaped, as big as you want them and nicely coloured, they fit neatly into boxes; and you can grow tons of them real fast. However, they all taste like zuchinis.
I think Marge Bumsag of Scarborough Ontario.sums up the public attitude about this very well "Them fruit and vegetables that I buy in the supermarket are cheaper than that stuff from Ontario, and they ain't got no bumps, bugs or worm holes and they always look so pretty, neat and tidy . My kids doesn’t eat them anyway (unless I threaten to bust em one) so the taste ain't important. "
So much for Don's intellectual interests.
Irene this past year undertook to learn more about her father’s past. She was still a child when he was taken away. Contacts have been made with information sources in Germany, France , Holland and France with follow up visits to Mecknes (Morocco), Paris, and London where her father had performed some of his music. A film, made in England, has been recovered, plus a few letters, critics comments and governmant documents. It ‘s a work in progress. Irene has retained some of his musical scores and is also pursuing with several interested musicians the possibility of playing it again.
The nice things about this past year were :
Irene was finally accepted as a French citizen. Now we can start living here most of the time
We like our little Cleo because the roads in the towns and up in the hills are too narrow for anything bigger and the big ones with fat wheels sure eat up a lot of gas. Maybe next year we will replace our little car with another one. I was reading that Delanoe, the mayor of Paris, is planning to banish SUV’s to the city suburbs ; it is another resaon to buy small.
feeling good about the winning No vote in the European elections. No vs Yes was a stupid choice because nobody knew what it was all about. The politicians said vote Yes so saying No was simply saying that everything isn’t inevitable, there seem to be a lot of potholes in the road, and someone should pause, think and listen. My kids used to do this with me all the time.
As the year winds down we celebrated the meltdown of Bush.
The company of our fabulous dog..
Eating good food and drinking great wine in France – most of it fresh and locally produced..
breathing fresh air with factories and big cities far enough away ; and the scenery around here is great.
Lots of good music both classical and jazz that we enjoyed here
both feeling healthy aside from normal aches and pains. More than half the people born about the time we were, have past away, so it is nice to look back on another healthy year.
Our visit to Morrocco again and staying in a palatial suite in a palace in the ancient medina of Mecknes. It’s a country with wonderful weather, sights, sounds and smells. Our second time in Morocco and we will be going back again ; maybe in 2006
We were back in Canada, Don in the spring and again with Irene in the siummer and fall. Time with spent with family and friends
Our children continue to successfully manage their lives ; we like them and I think they like us too.
The unhappy things this past year
The death of our cousin and close friend Connie Morgan. A great friend to our family, filled with humour and an interest in the world around her; she will be missed
The death of a childhood friend, Bob Barrow. He showed great courage and warmth to the end.
Bush , everyone around him, and the misery he spreads; Our friend, Lorne Bogdon, says forget about him and take up birdwatching.
No objectives but a wish list
To remain healthy
Something new to get on with. Several ideas percolating
To figure out globalization
Everything bad happening to Bush
To keep enjoying the things we enjoyed in 2005
Everyone in the world dreams of owning two or three cars, big houses and lots of energy consuming devices, politicians want to get elected, so the world will keep getting warmer.
Bush will continue to be a pain in the neck and spread misery.
Iraq’s new Shiite dominated government will try to establish a fifth century caliphate, and all hell will break loose
The rich will get richer and the poor will go nowhere.
The Rapture won’t happen and a new date will be set (Pollution might just do it someday and it will serve us right).
Don still won’t understand Globalization and will take up birdwatching
Enjoy the season !
Don and Irene