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2005 Christmas Letter: Christmas 2005

Dear Family and Friends,

Sleighbells ringing and carolers singing..... not really. I’m huddled under the covers shivering and shaking and swilling Robitussin. Being sick is such a colossal waste of time, but my kids are all here for the holiday and it’s really fun to have them with me.

The kids: Leonard is in the middle of moving to New York City. He is developing software and writing computer books. Susie’s husband, John, graduated from BYU in April with a Master’s in tax accounting. He got a job in Irvine, and they moved to Costa Mesa this summer. It’s nice to have them closer. Rachel lives with me. She is still doing historical research, and she is going to start a graduate program in history next week at CSUB.

I’m still chugging along–much sicker than I was last year because my bone marrow is breaking down, but I’m blessed to be able to still teach my two classes at the college. Then I come home and go back to bed. Late afternoon I have a couple of hours to grade papers, and to work in my garden if I can. My job at church is still bulletin typer and newsletter editor.

The big event of the year is a trip Leonard and I took. We’ve been wanting to do this for literally twenty years, ever since Canada established the Dinosaur Provincial Park, and this summer we really did. We flew to Bozeman, Montana and rented a car. There we visited The Museum of the Rockies and saw the most incredible display of dinosaur fossils. My favorite was the row of Triceratops skulls lined up in order of size, from baby to adult. The great thing about this trip is most of the dinosaur bones were real, not casts like you find in most museums.

From Bozeman we drove up to Dinosaur Provincial Park and saw the landscape where the fossils are found. We went on a couple of interpretive walks and a tour with the park ranger. Fossils are just lying around all over the ground! I wish we had gone there fifteen years earlier when I could have done some hiking.

Then we drove to Drumheiller (did I spell that right?) to see the Royal Tyrrell Museum, the #1 dinosaur museum in the world. It was just overwhelming. They had not only Canadian dinos but others, including trilobites from Utah from the same place we excavated ours. There were also plenty of tourist traps we hit, including the Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump, where the Indians ran the buffalo off a cliff. Yup, it’s a cliff all right.

We drove down through Glacier National Park, which was lovely. The guidebook says a thousand species of wildflower live in the Park, and I’m sure they all were blooming at the time we were there. Exiting the Park, we turned and drove across Montana–a procedure not unlike driving across Texas. We spent two days in Yellowstone seeing the sights. On the second day, we went back into the Park over the Chief Joseph Highway (spectacular scenery), and we saw where the Nez Perce and their splotchy ponies overcame the United States Army and escaped. It was heartening to read on the historical marker that the public and the press were opposed to the government’s Indian policy. Then back to Bozeman and our flight home. I feel very blessed to have been able to make this trip and to have a wonderful son who is such a great travel companion.

I know that 2005 has been a very difficult year for many of the world’s people what with natural disasters, corruption in government from the highest offices to the local, and the spread of frightening diseases. I hope 2006 will be better, for you and yours and for the rest of the world. It seems to me that we are obligated to gather our courage and face the future with happiness and optimism, which is what I plan to do with what future I may have left.

I send my love, and wish you a very, very happy New Year!

Love, Frances


© 2001-2006 Frances Whitney.