Holiday Greetings, Family and Friends!
The ground turned white on Thanksgiving Day this year when all the Minnesota relatives gathered here for turkey. John's mother now lives in Annandale at Centennial Villa, Sara was home from Grinnell College in Iowa, and John's sister and her husband from Minneapolis were able to join us despite the questionable driving conditions. On the other side of the family my brother and his family will be with us in Florida at my mother's place for Christmas once again. We'll hope for beautiful weather down there of course, but it won't be as important as when we are having a dreary snowless December. With the lovely snowfall the girls and I have already used the cross country skis, Jefferson has been on the snowboard, and John will be getting the snowmobiles out any day now. When we can play outside in the snow the cabin fever doesn't hit with such intensity -- not as soon, anyway.
Our yearly winter escape from Minnesota to sunshine last March included the kids once again (only the second time ever, to their dismay). Bishops, Doughty's, Wenngatz's and Jaspers gathered 20 strong in Cozumel, Mexico, where the five youngest finished up their scuba certification. On the final dive of the week the twelve Annandale divers totally filled the dive boat.
Sara's high school graduation open house in June was quite an affair. Over 200 people stopped by to wish her well. After living in Minnesota for 23 years I'm still amazed at this custom. Niece Hannah in Nashville celebrated her high school graduation with an intimate gathering of 14 close friends and family. Quite a contrast! But we lived through it and actually had quite a good time. It will be much easier next year when it is Shannon's turn.
Sara's late graduation (June 11) and early start of college (August 20) made a very short summer, so we weren't able to work around the girl's jobs (Sara's lifeguarding and Shannon's clerical position at Lakedale) for a summer trip. But in October we did manage to combine a family trip with college visits for Shannon in Los Angeles. While she looked at schools we watched the taping of two TV shows and learned to laugh when told to do so the third time through a sitcom. Visits to midwestern schools won't be half the fun. It will be interesting to find out if Shannon values sunshine and cultural diversity enough to put up with the craziness of LA plus of course the 1000 miles between herself and her beloved family! Time will tell where she ends up.
So far it appears that Sara has made the right college choice in Grinnell. She loves it. She went out for cross country for the first time ever and is enjoying experiencing new viewpoints on social issues. Her father, however, is questioning the wisdom of sending her to such a hotbed of liberalism as he grabs each new Rush Limbaugh book as it comes off the press.
Shannon keeps busy with an abundance of activities while working on the college shopping process. She is in speech, Youth Advisory Council, gymnastics, golf, teaches Sunday School to 4-year-olds, and this year she entered dramatics in the school musical and the school play.
Jefferson still plays piano and percussion and now has joined speech, but his first love continues to be sports. Last summer he participated in his first triathalon (swim, bike, run) in Annandale. In order he most loves basketball, snowboarding, basketball, skiing, basketball, football, basketball, rollerblading, basketball, and golf.
John and I both spend most of our spare time trying to keep on top of family comings and goings. He gets in lots of golf and yardwork, some snowmobiling and of course his Las Vegas junkets with the boys. I love to bike, golf and play with my computer. Most of my volunteer tasks somehow involve the computer. In August I put together a pocket version of the school calendar with the intention of its being a fund-raiser for Grad Party. It's actually way in the red (then we call it a service project), but I enjoyed doing the work to create it. We are online with and Sara at college via computer, and if anyone would like to e-mail us, she is <Bishop@AC.Grin.edu> and we are <JBish1@AOL.COM>. We love to get e-mail!
With Sara off at college, Shannon on the way and Jefferson moving up and out as fast as he can (only 242 months until he gets his license, he tells us), it feels like the beginning of a New World Order -- well, a new family order, anyway, of far more independent children. We hardly have an empty nest yet, but it is in sight. Still, on the heels of the giving-thanks holiday and in the midst of the season of peace, love and joy, we savor the many blessings in our lives.
Best Wishes to you in 1994 from the Bishop Family,
John, Jill, Sara, Shannon, and Jefferson