Christmas Epistle

Barrett 2019 Christmas Epistle

An observation so common that it seems gratuitous to say that another year has sped by and I come to this opportunity to share our 2019 experiences and good wishes for the Season.

As most of you might know, Amy and I spend 6 months in our cabin, Bergheim, in Pike County, PA. We have come to know the rhythm of cutting grass, trimming trees, and caring for an increasing number and variety of flowers and decorative plantings. This year we have realized that trees we planted over 50 years ago are now past prime and in need of removal. Several of the ornamental plantings have past their prime, giving us the opportunity to revise the landscape design – maintaining our preference for variations in color, height, texture, and blooming time –  in favor of plantings that require less maintenance as our capacity is expected to diminish over the next decade (or two). Soon to be available technology will provide us with greater remote monitoring and control of Bergheim during our absences. One of the most exciting changes coming, though,  is the availability of solar panels with almost double the output of those we have now, which, coupled with better storage capacity, will take us further in the direction of “off the grid” status. 

During the winter months we live in The Highlands at Wyomissing, PA, in an apartment that has activity areas to allow us separate space in support of our individual activities. We are provided a safe place to live with life and health support as we age. And the best part is that this puts us within minutes of each of our kids and grandchildren whom we see weekly.

This past July, we took the whole family on a Tauck Bridges Cruise of the Rhône River, starting with a few days in Paris, and ending in Lyons. You can share this with us at .  [I’ve bundled this blog with one from a previous Danube trip, so look at the middle of the link choices for “About the Tauck: Bridges Rhône River cruise 2019”]

Pete and Helga have had to accommodate to the empty nest as both children are off to college: Calvin to Haverford, Tessa to Muhlenberg. The parents both work so the days are filled, leaving nights and weekends to train a new miniature dachshund, Ginger, and to wonder what the kids are getting into. 

Paul, Tracie, and Mason are settling into their new house while Paul continues to remodel the basement into an activities area. There are a few other projects on the list which will be competed over time.  Tracie continues to develop deserts at Sweet Street, Paul is working as a facilities manager at Elite Sportswear, and Mason is in first grade.  We enjoy having him after school several days a week until he is picked up for supper.

Antje, Laz, Demetri, Alex, and Katie are all well. Antje’s – Anni B’s Monogramming – business continues to grow and occupy more of her time, to her delight. Laz continues as manager of Hollywood Cleaners. Demetri, Alex, and Katie are all excelling at school and sports. 

We hope this epistle finds you well and taking life in stride, in particular during this hectic season. 

Amy and Jim Barrett

Amy and Jim

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