I hope you all had a memorable 2011 and are off to a good start in 2012. Personally, my last half of December was full of both ups and downs. Starting with the bad news (which, thankfully, was far outdone by the good), on December 19th, I was leaving Cherokee in my new car, which I'd had all of 2 1/2 months, when a deer decided to walk into the car. So much for having a brand new car (only the second one I've had in my 45 years of driving).
My brother, the family Genealogy guru, surprised us all with neckties for the guys and scarves for the gals, all in the family (McAndrew, my Great-Great-Grandmother) tartan. I also received CDs by two of my favorites, The Smothers Brothers and Steve Martin, and a new book about Howard Cosell from my son-in-law, who had drawn my name for the gift exchange. Oh yeah - and also a "New York Yankee" license plate frame. Now all I needed was a car to put in on!
On Monday afternoon, the entire group went to Ford's Theatre (yes, THAT Ford's Theatre), where we browsed in the Lincoln Museum and Gift Shop before settling in for a wonderful performance of a musical version of Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" by the Ford's Theatre Company. My brother Doug and his wife Nancy left us after the play to visit with his son David and his daughter-in-law Jill, who live in nearby Rockville, Maryland. They had come to my daughter's home to visit earlier, and it was the first time we'd seen David in years and the first time any of us (other than Doug and Nancy) had met Jill. By the way, this Christmas also marked the first time that my son-in-law Joe had ever met Doug and Nancy - only 15 years after he joined the family
The Cathedral does have a home congregation (Episcopal), which holds regular Sunday services, but it is perhaps more well known for holding several Presidential funerals, and the weddings of Al Gore's two daughters, among others. President Woodrow Wilson is one of the people who were actually buried in the Cathedral, and Helen Keller and her teacher, Anne Sullivan, are among others who share that distinction. Rev. Martin Luther King, though not buried in the National Cathedral, preached there often, and, in fact, preached his last Sunday sermon there in 1968, just days before his assassination.
We flew back to Omaha on Wednesday, but instead of actually coming home, we took a detour to my sister-in-law's home in Panora, because she had bought tickets for the four of us to attend a musical revue, UtopIA, at a small theater in Des Moines' Civic Center that evening. The four person show was a delight, with all the material poking good-natured fun at Iowa. Among the subjects covered in familiar tunes with new lyrics were the Iowa-Iowa State rivalry, RAGBRAI, Bob Vander Plaats, Steve King and summer jobs (bean walking and detasseling). A terrific show.
Still not ready to go home, we took in a couple of movies in Des Moines on Thursday ('New Year's Eve,' of course, and also the excellent 'The Descendants.' Don't be surprised if George Clooney takes home the Oscar for his performance in the latter).
We stayed one more night in Panora, which allowed us to see our two nieces and their one-year-old children Friday morning, then we headed back to our humble abode in time to see in the New Year.