I'm back, after nearly three weeks of winter vacation. And winter it was in the mid-west. Although it was unseasonably warm for a few days in northern Indiana, Lou Ann and I had our fair share of snow, ice, and sub-freezing temperatures. Let's just say it felt like winter. We decorated our tree (we painted the white twinkle lights with colored markers), wrapped our presents, filled the stockings, and sat back to watch the plow trucks lumber through the otherwise silent streets with their blinking orange lights.
We walked in the snow, visited antique shops, went to the neighborhood theater, visited friends, cooked delicious meals, and even read some. It was a wonderful visit. I called home now and then, and delighted in telling Lou Ann & her neighbors that it was "73 degrees back on the island." To be honest, Ocracoke had a cold snap right before Christmas (I believe the temperature dropped below freezing), but otherwise it seems to have been a warm December.
I left the mid-west just ahead of the most recent winter storm. By the time I crossed the border into North Carolina I was driving with the windows open and folks along the way were outdoors in t-shirts and halter tops.
Of course, I've come home not only to gorgeous weather, family, and friends,......but also to piles of mail, a full in-box, bags of dirty laundry, a car full of Christmas paper and bows (you can get these things cheap in malls after the holidays!), and numerous chores to catch up on. I did get to see Lachlan (and Amy & David) last night. He is, naturally, growing fast -- full cheeks, bright eyes, alert, and interested in grabbing anything bright and shiny within his reach.
I wasn't home to write payroll checks right after Christmas so I need to catch up on that also. It's funny how employees like to get paid on time. But it really wasn't a problem. This is, after all, Ocracoke. I just called home and told my staff to take some money -- about what they thought they'd earned. We'll settle up in a day or so.
Of course we were shocked and saddened when we heard about the devastation & loss of life in Asia. The relatively minor damage we had from hurricane Alex in August just pales in comparison.
There's more to report, of course. But I'd best set my mind to the task of unpacking and organizing. And then I'll take my first stroll along the surf while it's still warm.
Here's hoping you had a wonderful holiday season, and that 2005 will prove to be a year of peace, hope, and reconciliation.