We hope this note finds you and yours happy and well, and looking forward to a great new year.
The distinguished gentleman looking somewhat curious in the above photo is Henry, a West Highland White Terrier, and the newest addition to our household. Since his arrival in May, he has, of course, taken charge, and we are merely his servants. He reminds us of both our earlier Westies but is his own dog and has brought much joy to the household.
The really big additions came in the summer, when Al’s nieces, Lora Cross Brewington and Terran Cross Helm, had their first babies. Lora and her husband, Matt, have a daughter, Eva. Terran and her husband, Derrick, have a son, Giles. The cousins were born about five weeks apart. Being a great-uncle and great-aunt is nothing close to being grandparents, like Al’s brother David and his wife Jennifer, but we share in their joy with the terrific twosome.
Amid the gains there were some losses. Al’s Aunt Wilma Maples in Gatlinburg died shortly after Christmas last year, and his Aunt Bonnie Miller, also in Tennessee, passed away in late October this year. They were linchpins of the Miller family through generations and leave many fond memories.
Patti’s mother had a massive heart attack on the last day of July. Her recovery has been difficult and we are so grateful to Patti’s aunts, uncles and cousins for all of the support and care they have given her. As you might expect, Patti has been spending more time in Grayson County. Her father has Parkinson’s disease but is managing it well while being chief caregiver.
The past year has been a busy one for us, with considerable out-of-state travel. We went to Fort Lauderdale for the Society of Professional Journalists convention, to Savannah for a friend’s wedding, to Charleston for the National Newspaper Association convention, to St. Petersburg, where Al judged a national journalism contest, and to Roanoke, where he spoke to a Virginia Press Association meeting. Al also went on business to Chicago, Austin, Baton Rouge, Columbus, Charlottesville and Bellingham, Wash., and joined some former reporter colleagues on a train trip to Washington to see baseball games. He brought brother Dave and nephew Martin along.
We had no foreign travel this year, but one day in Frankfort Al hosted a group from Zambia, where he traveled in 2009 and 2011; and he is hosting a visiting scholar from the University of Shanghai and hopes to get to China sometime, in his role as director of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues at the University of Kentucky. He continues to publish The Rural Blog, Kentucky Health News and the Midway Messenger, a student-fed news site for the town between Frankfort and Lexington; and to teach classes and conduct workshops. He still writes a fortnightly political column for The Courier-Journal, is a statewide TV commentator on election nights, and was profiled in the October issue of Kentucky Living, the magazine for rural electric co-op members in the state.
Patti wrapped up two years as chair of the Frankfort-Franklin County Joint Planning Commission, on which she remains, as well as the Architectural Review Board. She remains a very active volunteer and board member for the county fair, Habitat for Humanity, Capital City Woman’s Club, and SPJ’s Bluegrass Chapter (and is treasurer for all but Habitat).
We told you a year ago that we were resolved to make much more progress on our big, old house in 2012, and we’re happy to report that we’ve picked a contractor for a major renovation: master bath, closet and dressing room. Other projects are in the works! That will make visiting 123 West Todd Street somewhat problematic during the next three or four months, but we’d be happy to see any of you anywhere, anytime. Hard hats and hip boots recommended!
Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!
. . .and we’re both on Facebook!