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Archive for January, 2009

Christmas season’s greetings from Mary and Ron

Posted by Ron George on January 2, 2009

xpmas-poinsettiaDear Family and Friends, 

All is well with us in Corpus Christi, Texas. We’re a little older and perhaps a bit wiser. Mary often works 70-hour weeks for the people of Texas as Chief of Staff in the president’s office at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. Her most time-consuming project is “BoldFuture for the Coastal Bend,” a community visioning project being sponsored by the university and Del Mar College. She’s gearing up for a big community event at the end of February as well as Texas’ biennial silly season when the legislators return to Austin in January. 

Ron is somewhat underemployed — well, it feels that way after decades of newspaper work . Still, he’s engaged in some fascinating research as a technical writer in the university’s Office of Special Projects. We’ve been back in this town, where we met and married more than a quarter-century ago, since 2006; and we’re pleased to report that it’s wonderful to be back here after so many years in Aggieland. 

We’ve got some catching up to do, because we didn’t send out a letter last year. Kathleen Sherwood (aka Katz), Mary’s mom, moved to Corpus Christi two years ago from Lake Charles, La., where she had lived since 2003 after spending most of her lengthy adult life in Port Arthur, Texas. At 93, she’s a little frail and blind but charmingly alert and a stalwart among the usual suspects who gather with some regularity at Ron’s mom’s house for dinner and fellowship. 

Martha, Ron’s mom, is 85 and has been fishing for redfish and trout lately with Capt. Steve Utley, Ron’s bro-in-law, Sue’s husband and maestro of Blue Heron Adventures. It’s getting to where she doesn’t appreciate being left ashore while Steve goes out and catches the big ones!

At Elizabeth's wedding, 2007: Ron needed a shave!

At Elizabeth’s wedding, 2007: Ron needed a shave!

Sue will be retiring from public-school teaching this month, and she was overheard saying recently that no one but no one better get between her and her pottery studio after she retires. Sue’s been a teacher about a year longer than Mary and Ron have been together. She’s gotten her scars — and earned our respect — for that honorable service.

Deb Nivens, Ron’s sister Reba’s partner, has retired, but of course now works longer and harder than ever manufacturing jewelry and tending their wonderfully fruitful yard and gardens. Reba is rising among the ranks of the city’s parks and recreation department, and has begun a master’s degree program in public administration at TAMU-CC.

Ron’s on the verge of completing his doctoral program (DMin) at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. If his final project is signed, sealed and delivered by the end of March, and if he passes his oral exam by the end of April, he’ll walk on May 23. It’s taken six years, including an 18-month layoff for the move to Corpus Christi in 2006. He’s hoping there’s a book and some articles to come from the final project. After that, who knows?

The hurricanes keep missing us, and we’re thankful for that, although one came near enough this year for us to evacuate Katz to Austin, where she stayed with her son John Sherwood. Folks in Brownsville weren’t so lucky, including Shanna’s in-laws, husband Kenny’s brother and his family, who were in the thick of Hurricane Dolly. Shanna and Kenny came through town with their baby boy, Jonah, on their way to help the Southmost Browns clean up after the storm. The trip wasn’t especially harrowing, but was a real eye-popper for Shanna, who’d never seen what damage even a minor hurricane can do.

Martha and one fine speckled trout

Martha and one fine speckled trout

Shanna’s big brother, Matthew, and his famly — Kris, Caitlin and Kylie — spent some Christmas time with us last month. Both are teachers in the Denton area. Caitlin is a trombonist and budding naturalist who partook deeply of Capt. Steve’s knowledge of our local bays, carting home several bags full of choice shells.

Daughter Elizabeth was caught up in a major round of teacher layoffs in Dallas last year but has landed on her feet with a substitute gig closer to home through the spring that may go full-time by next fall. We’re keeping our fingers crossed. Elizabeth loves to teach; better yet, she loves the kids she teaches.

We’re hoping to visit son Joseph and his wife, Christina, and their new addition, Ethan Thomas George, in Harrogate, UK, next fall. We’ve also got some sites to see in Faversham, the Sherwoods’ ancestral stomping grounds; so, we’ll make our way from the southeast to the midlands over the 10 days we plan to be there. We just might visit a few churches along the way. Y’think? 

We hope and pray that this message finds you in good health and prosperity, and in any case blessed by the presence of God in Christ, whose incarnation we commemorate in these blessed days.

As we say a lot in South Texas, “Adios,” which doesn’t mean “good-bye” but “go with God.”

Hasta el ano proximo.

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