Sunday, December 22, 2013


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year   2013

It’s that time of year when Gaila ties me to a chair and makes me write a year-end holiday letter. Last winter I was looking out of the motorhome across a beautiful white sand beach to the distant Gulf horizon. This year I'm still in Michigan tucked up next to the wood stove, as close as I can get without scorching my posterior, looking out across a beautiful white field of snow to the distant Meijer construction site. Gaila says I have to stay up here until after Christmas every other year, so I don’t forget how to start the snow blower. My escape plan is to leave December 26 weather and roads permitting!!
Yes, I said Mejier construction site. Gaila has always wanted to move to a little town where she can walk to everything, and I have always said, “Be patient, a town will move to you.”  It looks as though our future is going to be very bright. I think there are going to be about a million parking lot light posts just over the hill from us. When the Department of Motor Vehicles someday takes our licenses away we can simply ripoff a shopping cart and wheel each other back and forth to the Meijer Superstore. I think we should be gone 9 months like we did this year, then we'll miss a good part of the construction noise going on over the hill. 
Over the past year we explored Florida as far south as the Everglades, then worked our way back to the panhandle and west to California for our niece's June wedding. In our travels, besides visiting family, we made a lot of new friends and met up with many of our friends from home. We hope to do the same this year. We have our favorite little hideouts in many remote natural areas. You'll know where you can find us by following Gaila's blog. I'm gearing up to hike the 800 mile Arizona Trail in April. During part of that time Gaila will be near her parents and then part of the time she'll be my support team like she did when I did the CDT hike.

Maggie (you may know her as Magnolia blossom, Magpie, Magdalena or Magda) is still wild and crazy (Gaila says she has many of my traits). She works at our local Oryana Food Co-op and her fiance', Brenin, continues to do his CSA farming (Community Share Agriculture). They are meeting Gaila and I in New Orleans in January before we head west.

 Annual Animal Update: We still have a granddog, Morgan. Now we also have a grandcat, Poncho. Not to be outdone by her daughter, Gaila got a kitten to give Funny Face some companionship. Unfortunately, she didn’t consult Funny Face before the decision. Funny Face is an old curmudgeon cat, who after a couple months is still slapping the heck out of this playful, constantly attacking kitten. Every morning we get to watch the Ali/Fraser fight all over again. The kitten dances like a butterfly and Funny Face stings like a bee. I demanded that a new cat be declawed, but Gaila doesn’t agree with that procedure. She says it’s like cutting someone’s fingers off at the first knuckle. She didn’t have a second thought of cutting his balls off though. She just happened to find a rescue kitten that someone had already cut all his fingers off at the first knuckle. They are so much more entertaining without claws. Through the evolutionary process their little brains still think they can stick like Velcro to whatever they leap on. After a few horrific climbing accidents they temper their exuberance. Gaila doesn't seem to find this funny.
I will probably never get any more phone calls from my daughter. I became her full-time mechanic after giving her our old Saturn. I would only hear from her when something major went wrong with the car. I think I may have been fired because she just gave us the old Saturn back. It might have been warranty issues. The window was taped shut, the clutch was burned out, I found the spoiler planted on their property next to the Brussels sprouts and the gas/trunk release latches were frozen in the lock position. Brenin’s dad gave them a newer vehicle. I will miss our daughter/mechanic relationship, but who knows, we may get back together again someday. I’ve replaced the clutch and window motor. I washed the cold dark earth off the spoiler and glued it back on the car. I doused the trunk/gas latches with WD40 and put the windshield wiper on right-side up. Don't get me wrong, I am not complaining. I know the drill. Khalil Gibran said, "You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth." I just quiver every time I hear that. We have the most wonderful daughter, and the Saturn is still running after 200,000 miles. Life is good!

--Keep Smilin’, Dick (and Gaila)


  1. Warm wishes to you all this year, too. If Maggie needs a stand-in curmudgeon while you are gone, Kyle says I qualify...

    1. Email me at and tell me who you are.

  2. I love your account of life according to Dick. Merry Christmas and safe travels. I would hike the AZ trail with you but I am busy in April. Peace. Rog and Jeanette.