Great-grandchild Elinor (Ellie) Joy Edwards was born January 13 to grandson Vincent and Kristen (Futrell). 7 lbs. 9 oz. and 22 inches at birth, Ellie is now almost one year old and appears–from the regularly messaged pictures and videos of doting grandparents Craig and Tuesday–to be a healthy, rambunctious, blue-eyed, towheaded charmer. Our visits confirm that this is the case—she’s a dear!
We bought the house next door as rental property and became first-time rehabbers. Our adventures include climbing on the roof with sledge hammers to remove a leaky chimney, crawling on our bellies in the crawl space to insulate floors, demolishing walls and reconstructing them, even replacing a fourteen-foot joist under the hallway wall that was hanging mysteriously in mid-air. We can laugh now at being exhausted, filthy, grumpy and sore beyond belief, but our experience reminds us that every house (like every human!) needs a solid foundation and regular attention if it is to increase in value and realize its full potential.
We toured Germany to celebrate the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther posting his 95 Theses on Castle Church door. Our visit included Berlin, Wittenberg, Ehrfurt, Eisleben, Torgau, the Wartburg Castle, Leipzig (to pay homage to Bach) and a few other significant Reformation stops. Our Luther expert was a retired Church History professor from the Chicago Lutheran Seminary, so we had a long reading list and periodic lectures along the way, which enriched our experience. Jim’s picture on our Christmas card documents his most important requirement on the trip–brats and beer to validate our German roots and channel Luther!
We hosted the Edwards’ Bi-Annual Sibling Reunion. David with wife Joan, Dottie, Jonathan with wife Judy, Lois with grandson Elton, and cousin Janet with husband Fred visited for a 4-day family extravaganza. Family pictures (our couple’s pic is at the top of the tree on our card), a Metra-ride to downtown Chicago to see the sights and eat deep-dish pizza and performances by the “Edwards Gospel Singers” highlighted the weekend. What a delight to have all these wonderful people together in one place—let’s do it again!
We attended the Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Ontario. Early morning conversations with other theatre-attendees at our Bed-and-Breakfast enhanced our pleasure of Anne Carson’s Bakkhai, Thomas Middleton’s The Changeling, David Edney’s translation of The Madwoman of Chaillot, Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Twelfth Night and Timon of Athens, Richard Sheridan’s The School For Scandal, and Ranjit Bolt’s translation of Tartuffe. As a final treat, we visited Niagara Falls then took a road trip through Upper Michigan, Door County, Port Edwards and Milwaukee on our way home, saving the best for last–a quick visit with Patte’s daughter, Liz, and her grandchildren, Abby, Jack and Reed.
We celebrated Vincent and Kristen’s wedding in Marion, Indiana. The Edwards contingent was far outnumbered by the Futrell clan–who we understand count themselves by units of ten at family gatherings—but the pleasure of meeting Kristen’s family and seeing two young people in love commit their lives to one another was worth the trip!
As we reflect on 2017, we feel amazed, humbled and gratified at the rich variety of experiences that define our lives. Our wish for you this Christmas is that your foundation remains solid and well-tended so that you prosper and shine in 2018!