Holiday Greetings to you and yours! Where’s my gift?

I hope 2016 has been good to you. It began in a courtroom for me, which I think you’d agree, is no way to start a new year, especially if you’re the defendant. Fortunately, I wasn’t. It was still stressful though. I was already running late when I arrived at the courthouse for jury duty on January 4, and then my necklace set off the alarm on the metal detector. By the time I got to my seat, I was in no mood to be fair and impartial. In the end, I wasn’t selected anyway. Maybe that’s why. 

I took a DNA test in January and was amazed to discover that a full 10 percent of mine is Scandinavian. My family had previously been unaware we had any Scandinavian in our history at all. Fortunately, I’ve always been fond of Scandinavians, particularly the full-blooded one I’m married to. 

The DNA test involved spitting a bunch into a vial and then mailing it off to a lab. It made me really appreciate the way TV crime lab technicians can track down a killer using DNA taken from a piece of chewed-up bubble gum found in a mud puddle at the crime scene.

In May, I joined some of my family members on a trip to the fatherland—North Dakota, which is where my father grew up. We got together with cousins we hadn’t seen in years and explored cemeteries and homesteads. It was fabulous, despite my concerns about getting that many relatives together during an election year.

We did some camping this summer, or as I like to call it, weather modification. Our camping trips are more efficient at causing precipitation than any cloud seeding program, which is why last summer we gave up our tent and built ourselves an ark. I’m joking! Actually, we bought a camper, which was easier.

We also did a bit of canoeing over the summer. This presents a challenge for me because it means assisting my husband to lift our aluminum canoe off the top of our vehicle, and I’m not as strong as I look. Fortunately, after 28 years of marriage, we’re a team. Working together, we’ve developed a very efficient system that involves lifting the canoe, then flipping it while my husband calls out instructions and I complain about them.

In November, we traveled to New Jersey to attend a wedding and then spent a few days sightseeing in New York City. As someone who grew up in a very small town, I’m fascinated by big city life. For example, in small towns, we say hello to everyone we meet on the street. It’s not because we’re nice people, though some of us are, it’s just that it would be odd to pass the only other person on the block and not say something.

They don’t do that in the city. I don’t think it’s because they’re unfriendly, though some of them may be. It’s just that it would be strange to say hello to every person you pass in a city block—not to mention time consuming.

I noticed they honk a lot in the city and they park anywhere they want to—even in the middle of the street if they can’t find anywhere else. We’d never do that in a small town. Of course, it’s easier for us to find a parking spot, and besides if small town people honk at someone or park illegally, everyone recognizes their vehicle. 

Anyway, it was a wonderful trip topping off a great 2016. I hope your year was as good, that you’re well and that your Christmas gift is in the mail to me. I’m joking! I won’t mind if you don’t send a gift. But I won’t mind if you do either.