We've had a wonderful year here at 512 S. 1st, Carbondale, KS and we're very grateful to our Good Lord for that. We hope you and yours have had a good year, too. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all our friends, relatives, and acquaintances who are suffering with health problems, have lost loved ones and the many conflicts of daily life.
I'm feeling especially happy as I write this letter because it is the first time in about six years that I am truly "in" a Holiday mood! I actually put up a Christmas tree for the first time in several years and I have transformed our "Entry Room" into a "Christmas Room". Jokingly, I told Kent that this must mean I have been healed emotionally, and he answered with "Well, you're getting better." Bless his heart.
Kent works with his friend in a home repair business, but only when he wants to, so he is still retired, mostly! He has worked hard on our property this year. Mowing was the largest project since it rained all spring, all summer, all fall, and is still raining right into winter, although twice we had nice wet snows in Nov. instead of rain. It is almost Christmas and our lawns are just as green and plush as they were this summer. Kent planted a nice vegetable garden and we had produce galore-no, I didn't do any canning this year, I'm not that "healed emotionally!" Maybe next summer. The nice thing about the garden-we didn't have to water ever except right after he planted the new seedlings. God did all the watering for us and he kept our pond full, the frogs happy, and the grass growing and growing. Kent also made flower beds for me so I could plant beautiful flowers of all kinds. Ah, it felt so great to be out in the great outdoors again and putting my hands in soil. We didn't have the number of snakes this year like last year and I didn't have as much poison ivy to fight, either. The spider count seems lower this year, too, but the ants were horrific. We enjoyed watching the antics of the mama red fox and her four babies for awhile but they were burrowing under our sheds and making paths. They also killed song birds, cats, and a Cottontail rabbit and her babies. We were just about to call Animal Control when they took off for somewhere else. We also got to enjoy seeing a mama duck and her babies on our pond. Oh, and we had apples galore and we didn't do a very good job of keeping them off the ground, either. My poor sister Tammy has over twice as many trees as we do and she would get those apples off the ground as fast as they fell. She had some really good apples, too. Ours weren't very good. Ours are late ripening apples and fairly small. Next year we're either going to get them sprayed to keep the bugs and worms away or else we're going to cut them down!
Kent had cataracts removed from both eyes in April. His eyesight was getting so poor and he knew it was effecting the quality of his work. He had no problems at all with the simple surgeries and now has 20/20 vision in both eyes. He is now enjoying a world of beautiful color. He even could see what I looked like and he hasn't left yet! amazing! He enjoyed the spring colors of the flowering bushes and trees for the first time in probably 20 years. He was so awed by the beauty of the Bradford Pear Trees that he bought one and planted it in our yard.
I have had a very healthy year and even though I feel pain most days, the pain is not severe and I am so thankful for that. It is wonderful to feel good for a change. I am still at Washburn University Law School in the Library. I enjoy the students so much, but after three years they graduate, must pass the bar and then they move on. Even though it is a great occasion for them, it is sad for me.
KEnt & I took several trips this year--I know, some of you wouldn't think of the places we go as trips, exactly, but for us they are. We took a trip all around the perimeter of Kansas with a side trip to Oklahoma with son Cub. We spent several days with Cub in Arkansas City, visited Kent's sister Barbara; went to Colby to see my Aunt Zelma Reed, and picked up Jared so the three of us could spend several days in Syracuse with Dustin, Karen, Brett, and Cody. Kent, Jared, & I took care of the boys one day while Dustin and Karen were working. We took the boys out to the golf course so they could practice their putting. Cody is just 3 years old and loves to golf! Brett is nine and is not only involved with golf, but swimming, baseball, basketball, football, bowling, reading, playing the piano and does wonderful in school. We watched them do "safe" fireworks on the 2nd of July and they had an early birthday party for Kent. We took Jared back to Colby and stopped to see Ron & Peggy Young and then on to Brewster to have dinner with Bonnie and Warren Reid and Sue & Dwayne Randolph. We spent the night with Sue &Dwayne adn then headed for home on the Fourth of July, KEnt's birthday. When we got home we picked up some chicken at the deli and headed for a big celebration at my brother David's mother-in-law's place. The fireworks that night were so beautiful. Cub, Leigh, & Justin came back to our house afterwards and set off their own fireworks whle we watched the brilliantly lit sky around us. We live in the perfect place for watching fireworks.
Another trip we took was with David and it was a one day affair driving to Pontoon Beach, IL just northeast of St Louis, MO and back to Carbondale. David was getting ready to leave for Lakenheath Air Force Base in England and had to drive his pickup, while we followed in the van, to Pontoon Beach so it could be shipped to England. It was the first time Kent had ever seen or crossed over the Mississippi River before. One of Kent's cousins (that's you, Warren!) was totally amazed that Kent was as old as he is and had never been that far east. Lke I wrote earlier, our trips aren't like most peoples trips! We don't venture far from Kansas, although I have been as far north as Canada, as far east as New York, as far west as California, and as far south as Texas. Kent has been as far west as Utah, as far north as Wyoming, and as far south as Texas, he can now add as far east as Pontoon Beach, IL! We took a little weekend trip to Council Grove KS in Oct. as a late 39th wedding anniversary trip. We saw all the historical sights there, walked the Neosho River Walk, visited the Kaw (Kansa) Indian Museum, attended an outdoor historical pagaent called "Voices of the Wind People" a history of the Kansa Indians and Council Grove. Native Americans came up from the Kaw Indian Reservation in Oklahoma to take part in the pageant. It was a cold evening and when Kent started to complain, I told him to just pretend he was at a football game! We enjoyed the trip very much.
While David was home we had a big backyard bash. There were 57 friends and relatives there. We sure worked hard to get this place as spiffy as we could. Dustin, KAren and boys came a few days early and helped us. Karen was such a great help to me and I couldn't get over how hard that girl could work. The party wouldn't have been such a success without them. Even Cody got into the act by helping his Uncle David pick up apples and dump them between the pond and the creek for the deer. We had great food, lots of outdoor games to play, a seed spitting contest and my sister Coleen and even my mom did the spittin' thing! We had great music provided by my cousin Linda and husband Gary Kentch. Many people walked though the house for the first time, so it was kind of an Open House thing, too! Grandson Brett surprised us all by standing up in front of all those people and singing the country song "When the Sun Goes Down."
Jared is at home with us right now for the holidays. He has had a good year & even held down a job at the Sonic for three months. I think the only reason he quit was because he got to thinking about the possibility of not getting to come home from Christmas. He is very active with bowling and an organization called CRO and serves on the governing board. It is an organization for the mentally disabled. He stays active with his group at Colby House, too.
Cub comes up to Topeka almost every weekend to see Leigh and Justin and us most times. He still works at the Golf course in Winfield, KS. I think he is contemplating a move to Topeka one of these days, which would be nice for him because he wouldn't have to drive that six hours every weekend and I'd feel better about him not being on the road all the time. He bought a new car this year. So did son Jesse and my parents. It's about my turn now since I lost my little Ford Probe in May. It finally just couldn't take it anymore and died in Maryville, KS on a return trip home from a fishing expedition to Norton that Kent and Dustin took. cub & I had to drive to Maryville to save Kent! It was a good little car and had been driven by Jesse and David, besides me and Kent.
Jesse is still Sgt. Doze and an instructor in Marine Combat Tactics Training at Camp Geiger (Camp LeJeune) in North Carolina. He lives in Jacksonville with two roommates and five cats that he's taking care of while the cat's owners is serving time in Afghanistan. Jesse was home in Nov. for a week. Only a few people knew he was coming home because he wanted to suprise his Uncle Fred Marstall and wow, were they all surprised! Some high school classmates of Fred's had an early surprise birthday party for himat Coyote Canyon. Jesse drove from Jacksonville, NC and while everyone was just getting ready to eat, Jesse called to say he was outside and would brothers Cub & Dustin go out to help him. anyway, Jesse came in full dress uniform, along with his sword and marched through the restaurant with Cub & Dustin following. He went straight to Fred and greeted him. Fred was overwhelmed and so were my parents and other relatives who had no idea he was coming. Jesse presented his Uncle with a Letter of Commendation from the USMC (his commanding officer wrote it up) and from what I understand, it is rare for a civilian to receive such an honor. Jesse also presented Fred with a USMC coin, also from his commanding officer. Then Jesse presented Fred with the rarest of the four internal recruiting posters that feature Jesse as the instructor. We're not done yet! Jesse then asked his uncle if he would accept his sword and then surrendered his sword to Fred. It was an awesome ceremony and there were people who weren't even with our party crying. Fred is in his fifth year of ALS, Lou Gehrig's Disease and Jesse loves and cares for his uncle very much. Kent & I were so proud of Jesse. We're proud of all our sons. They have all become wonderful young men.
KEnt, Mom, a law student, his wife and daughter & I walked in the A.L.S. Walkathon in Sept. in honor of Fred & in memory of Kent's uncle, Kent's cousin, and the law students father who passed away this summer from A.L.S. Fred & Tammy were there but couldn't walk because Fred's wheelchair battery wasn't holding a charge very well, but we all enjoyed the beautiful day.
We attended the Hudson Reunion in Lindsborg,KS in July. It was especially exciting for me because I got to meet two cousins for the first time. Carol Dauer and I have been corresponding for over twenty yearws and Linda Johannsen and I have been corresponding for a little over two years, but have become great friends. We really didn't get to visit much because there was so much genealogy and picture exchanging going on, but still--I'm so happy I have finally met them. Kent & I also attend the Durkin Reunion in Osage City KS in Sept. It was so nice to see and visit with everyone. We were to attend the Dobbins reunion in Colorado in July, but it was cancelled because of health problems with one of the hosts. The Dobbins Reunion will be held in Topeka next summer, so that will be great for us. We missed the Ravenstien Reunion in Kingman this year, but maybe we can make it next year. My parents, KEnt, & I went to LAwrence to watch grandson Brett bowl in the Pepsi Youth Bowling Tournament and that was fun for all of us.
I was on Washburn University's Marine Corps REserves Toys for Tots committee again this year & Washburn staff, faculty, and the Veteran's Legal Assoc. of WU gave 398 toys compared to 354 last year and $455.00 compared to 150.00 last year. I bugged everyone with a lot of emailws. Not everyone on campus knows my face, but they sure know my name!
Well, that's about it for this year, except to tell you that we had an early Christmas with Dustin, KAren & the boys. Brett played the piano for us and cody sang songs to me. He can sing "When The Sun Goes Down (we'll be groovin')" just like his brother, but he also sang "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer" and I laughed and laughed. It was so cute and funny.
May your Christmas be blessed and happy. May your New Year be bright and prosperous. May peace be just around the corner and PLEASE don't forget to PRAY for our military and their families. God Bless America so that we may always remain free.
Kent & Vicki Doze