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Christmas Letter 2006

December 13, 2006

Merry Christmas from Marion Station, eight miles from the southern-most tip of Maryland in the land of pleasant living – the Eastern Shore.

In September Dan and I took a 17 day vacation to Montana, Idaho, Wyoming and the Dakotas. Once we reached North Dakota we began tent camping our way through the Northwest. We spent time in Whitefish, Flathead Lake, Glacier National Park, and the Yellowstone region in Montana. We also visited northern Idaho, Washington and British Columbia. Dan planned the trip (around fly fishing) and taught me to fly-fish on the Flathead River. We fished the Madison, the Gallatin, the Jefferson, the Yaak, and the Yellowstone Rivers as well as Flathead and Whitefish Lakes. We drove through a blizzard on the Beartooth Highway (12,000 feet elevation), saw numerous wild animals and visited the Blackfeet and Pine Ridge Indian Reservations.

Burgoyne family Christmas Card 2006The picture on our Christmas card this year was shot from our campsite in Lake Pend Oreille, Idaho.

For those of you who's idea of enjoying the outdoors is looking at it from the window of a classy resort hotel or lodge, you need only spend time with Dan Burgoyne to experience the magic little gems in the natural world that can't compare to man-made comforts. I never thought I'd rave about sleeping in a tent (within chomping range of wild grizzly bears), in 20 degree weather, wearing the same clothes for 4 days, waking up with a full bladder having to walk to .... well, never mind where I was walking.

In truth, being awakened in the middle of the night to the sound of Elk calling to each other across the valley - a sound much like a high pitched organ pipe in a cathedral - quelled my fear of the grizzly bears and made me forget I was sleeping on the ground. When I stepped out of our tent and saw the mist rising off the Madison River with the snow-capped northern Rockies as a back drop uninterrupted by brick, mortar, asphalt or human creation of any kind, time stood still for me. I experienced something rare - a new perspective that diminished the thought or need of modern conveniences - and Dan brought me to that experience. Of course Dan would say his experience was too often interrupted by human intervention - primarily that of questions and comments posed by his wife who couldn't seem to stop talking. Can you imagine being alone with me for 17 days with me having no one else to talk to but you and the grizzly bears? Oh well... Dan loves me in spite of my motor mouth, and I love him despite his propensity for silence and solitude when I, frankly, have something to say.

Snow Hill - by Mindie BurgoyneIn April, I was contracted by Arcadia Publishing to write a book on a small town in Worcester County, Maryland to be part of their Images of America series. The book, Snow Hill was published and released on November 27th and features over 200 historic photos of the town and a good bit about its history. It's a thrill to be a published author. Dan is very excited for me - in fact, we went into Barnes and Noble to look at the display of the book when it was first released. Dan even bought a copy. Then as we were walking out the door he bellowed loud enough for everyone within fifty feet to hear, "Hey, aren't you Mindie Burgoyne who wrote that book about Snow Hill? I just bought a copy. Would you sign it?" I muttered, "Somebody please kill me now" and slinked out of the store.


By the way, they’ve scheduled me for a book signing there on February 10th from 1:00 to 3:00 pm. If you’re within 200 or so miles of Salisbury, Maryland that day, I do hope you’ll stop into Barnes and Noble, buy a book and have me sign it… or bring the book you’ve already bought and I’ll sign it… or bring the book you bought that I signed already and I’ll sign it again. My biggest fear is that no one will come except Dan. Maybe he can bring the dogs… that will make at least four in attendance.

Writing and getting published is intoxicating, and like talking - I can't stop. I continue to write almost every day, and have launched a new web site where many of my articles are posted, and hope to finish Thin Places: Walking through Celtic Holy Ground by the end of 2007.

While our jobs – Dan’s with Evans Builders and mine with the State of Maryland- remain the same, our family continues to grow and change. Lara and David moved into their own townhouse in Salisbury 30 miles from us. They are both working and continuing their education. Daniel and Amber are selling their place in Marion Station and moving to Virginia where Danny has a new job. Their 18 month old twins, Mia and Grace and little Daniel continue amaze us as they grow and to look more like each other every day. Albert is getting married on December 30th to Ruth Ament who grew up in a New Jersey neighborhood very near where Becky and Harry live now. Ruth and Albert will be married in Baltimore but live in Cocoa Beach, FL where Albert is currently stationed with the Navy with four years left to serve. Dominic still lives in Columbia and is beginning to develop quite a portfolio as a graphic artist. His talent is amazing. We haven’t heard from Kelley in awhile, but understand that she has moved back to Maine. Becky and Harry are still working hard at Delaware Valley Wholesale Florist. Connor and Benjamin are growing up to be handsome, creative young men that we are all very proud of.

Though Dan and I love our home here we miss the friends and family we left behind on the Western Shore, in Maine and various other parts of the US and world. Our lives have been so big, with so many associations and relationships that have changed us and made us better, but sadly are seldom nurtured due to our own neglect and distraction of daily burdens. Then Christmas comes and we send a card so these masses of friends and family know that we remember them. But is that enough to keep relationships strong?

If you are receiving a Christmas card from us, know that sending it to you was not a rote action done with little thought. As I was decorating our Christmas tree, I thought of all the Christmases I’ve had. I missed my grandparents and Christmases spent at my Uncle Joe’s with all my Granados cousins and the endless humor of my Aunt Chi-chi. I missed the wonder on the faces of my children waking up on Christmas morning and fun spent with my siblings as we watched our children grow up Christmas after Christmas. I missed Christmas Eve Masses at St. Bernard’s, Saint Francis’ and St. Joseph’s with the parties before and after. As I remembered I ached for friendships and family life past that once was new and alive. You may be a part of those memories or part of the upcoming memories we are making here on the Eastern Shore.

As our card states, Christmas is a time we remember everything we’ve ever loved. In some way, you have touched our lives and we are changed by it and grateful. We pray that the coming year will find you and yours blessed with health and contentment, enlightened by wisdom that comes with age, and filled with the energy to nurture the relationships you’ve established with those you love.


Much love to you this Christmas,



Mindie and Dan
 

   

Copyright 2006 -2017 by Mindie Burgoyne  All Rights Reserved. 
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