Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Montana Blokker Family Christmas Newsletter

The Blokker Family Christmas Blog Hello to all and to all a Happy Holiday Greeting from the beautiful northwestern corner of Montana! 2014 has been a memorable year. Roy put together four collections of poetry and prose on Kindle, publishing one of them in paperback version: Banned in Boston. He also wrote Charles Sorley’s Ghost expressly to commemorate the one hundredth anniversary of the beginning of World War One both on Kindle and in paperback. He also has been published in eight different magazines and newspapers, and had a feature article written about him in the local paper. Retirement and the mountain air agree with him. Diane has been busy with her job at Glacier Perks, where she is, as she puts it, “the dough fairy.” It’s a great outlet for her need to bake and a way to display her wonderful skills. Those skills are also finding expression through her crochet, which is turning into a (small at this point) cottage industry. It gives her great pleasure to produce something beautiful and then have someone purchase it. We have great and calming fun together on our small double-recliner love seat, Roy with his laptop and Diane with her crochet. Coming into 2014, we had one grandson, the remarkable, charming and sometimes devilish Xander. Xander is now in First Grade and growing like a weed. In June, his sister CharleeRose was born, another beautiful child and joy to behold. In August our daughter Beth gave birth to Chase Hendrix Kissell. Both babies are precious and precocious,, and even though Chase is far away in Los Osos, California, he is in our hearts and thoughts every minute. When we moved to Montana four years ago, in large part to be closer to our then only grandchild, Diane said, “Watch: we’ll leave California and then Beth will have a baby.” It took a few years, but now it’s happened, and we know we are missing out on Chase’s growing. But Beth and Brian are great at keeping us posted, and Chase is already chirping into the phone. It took Chase being born to bring us back to California. It was a whirlwind two week trip during mid-August. We got to see many of our friends and family – all too briefly – and spend four wondrous days with Chase, Beth and Brian. It also gave us a chance to fly, possibly our favorite travel activity in the world. We do apologize to all we missed while there, and all we spent far less time with than we wished. Our daughter-in-law Holli’s father, and our close friend, Frank suffered a heart attack in late September, and had to have triple bypass surgery on December 11. He came through the surgery with those favorite words, “no complications.” He was released from the hospital yesterday. His recovery will be long, painful, and demanding – but Frank is strong and has a powerful desire to hang around and make us laugh. For a while, we have to avoid returning the favor. His presence this Christmas will make the whole family feel very blessed! Another blessing in our lives has been our friend Joop, the elder statesman of our group. A fellow Dutchman with a fascinating history of his own, Joop ranks among the handful of liberals we have met, though the number is growing. He also has introduced us to the Glacier Symphony and Chorale, that remarkable orchestra about whom I have blogged a few times and written an article for the local paper. This past December 6, Saint Nicholas Day, we managed to pass out gifts to an extended family of children here, in Boise, and in California, 24 in all to whom we are Oma and Opa. The gifts were small, but reports back told us that the children loved them. On December 28 Diane and I will be celebrating our Fortieth wedding anniversary, although modestly. We had entertained hopes of celebrating in Holland, but that trip cannot happen this year, so we are setting our sites on Anniversary Number 42 because 42 is my magic number, one that seems to follow me wherever I go, plus, it is the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything. Life in Montana is sweet – cold, at the moment, but sweet. The only bittersweet part is thinking of all the people we love who are so far away. It is hard for us to get out of the Rockies, as much as we like to travel. But our door is always open and a guest room – with its own bath – awaits anyone who would like to come our way! You can ask our Dutch nephews and nieces – Erik and Annemieke, Olaf and Anneke – just how magnificent our back yard is. And on that note, I’ve prattled on long enough. So Merry Christmas and good fortune in the upcoming year!

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