I say "happy holidays" because we are celebrating not only Christmas, but also the end of a year and the beginning of a new year. And because not everyone celebrates Christmas, yet we all celebrate something special this time of year.
This will serve as my annual Christmas letter. Not much has changed since last Christmas. Blake has been living in North Carolina with her boyfriend Dan since last Thanksgiving and is doing well there. They came for a visit last April and will be here for Christmas. Drew is still in school in Austin TX and will also be here for Christmas. He gave us some of his art to display during the Watonga Cheese Festival in October, and we now have a couple of his pieces in our house and in a coffee shop on Main Street. Both kids are really excited about being here for the holidays, getting to spend time with each other and with us.
At the beginning of the year, I quit my job at the bank and did something completely different: I trained and worked at Roman Nose State Park as director of programs. I learned so much about Oklahoma history, geology, culture. I gave interpretive tours at the Park to groups of kids and adults and really enjoyed being in the outdoors. Then I got a real job with the City of Watonga.
We had a good year at the Retreat, other than the extremely hot summer temperatures. I watered the gardens like a fiend just to keep things alive. We had several reunions with old friends here during the year. Took rides in the DeSoto. Entertained old friends and made new friends. Supported our local winery. Had a lawn concert featuring a local musician (Katie Ballew). As President of the Chamber of Commerce I started a Farmer's Market and a monthly coffee on Main Street. I stay busy.
And Andy stays busy taking care of the "estate". He's also doing volunteer work refurbishing the front of the local historic theatre building.
We will make tamales on Christmas eve, as is our tradition, and anyone is invited to come by for some Christmas cheer anytime during the day. We hope for a white Christmas, but would be happy if it were 50 degrees too!
Keep in touch with us on facebook (Chaparral Retreat OR Andrew Barrett). Email address is email@example.com. We'd love to hear from all who read this!
MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL!!