Merry Christmas everyone. 2016 was a wonderful year for us!
Judy is an avid gardener, and this year her efforts were especially rewarded. We had the best garden in the past 20 years or more! Some of potatoes were nearly the size of a dinner plate. And we had a variety of wonderful fresh vegetables. A surprise was Judy’s other garden, at Evelyn’s house, where we had carrots that were a foot (30 cm) long and very sweet and tender.
Bill has served in FamilySearch Support for several years, but had never attended the annual picnic in Centerville Utah. This time we decided to go. His new supervisor was Andy Bavelas, the person who hosts the annual picnic. Andy invited us to stay with him and his wife Joanne!
It is a long drive from Edmonton and we had been talking about replacing our old car for some time, but this seemed like the perfect time. We bought a 2017 Elantra with most of the creature comforts and some new safety features, and set off for Centerville.
We visited Bill’s mother in Leduc, then spent Wednesday night with Judy's brother Bob and his wife Anna in Monarch, Alberta. We traveled to Idaho Falls the next day, then on to Utah the next morning. In Salt Lake City we visited the Family History Library (obviously!), the Church History Museum, and the nearby Family Discovery Center.
Andy and Joanne were instant friends! They are warm, friendly people. The house was built of adobe in 1888 for William Jennings, an early Utah entrepreneur. Much of the furniture was also historical. Around the yard there was a collection of old horse-drawn farm equipment and tools, such as Bill’s dad was still using into the 1950s. It was like being transported back in time 60 or 70 years. It was wonderful!
Judy helped Joanne make her special salsa. Andy and Bill helped set up the church for the dinner that would take place the following afternoon. We slept in a historical bed under the protection of a muzzle-loading rifle on the wall.
In the morning we helped our hosts with preparations for the picnic. By 2 PM support missionaries began to arrive. Some names were familiar from Family Tree support, and it was fun to finally meet them. Elder Lynn serves in Bill’s group, and gave us a jar of honey from his bee hives and a jar of his special BBQ seasoning. We even got to meet some of the managers in FamilySearch and their families. Bill also had a chance to ride in the Herrman's 1920 Ford Model T touring. Soon it was time to go to the church for the dinner. It was a special occasion, and we were glad we came. Would we come another year? Probably not. It was a lot of fun, but a very long drive.
We were able to make some progress on our ancestral research, most recently on one of Bill's Hunter lines (the Trane line) in Scotland and one o Judy's Kinney lines (the Kelly line) in the Isle of Man.
But the really big news this year is two new grandchildren. We love them already and we welcome them to our family! James and Karin will be wonderful parents!
In this season, we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, who spent his life teaching people to live in peace and love. In this season we all feel a little kinder towards the people around us. May you and your loved ones feel joy at Christmas and throughout the coming year!