Today is December 6, 2022 and it’s time to sit down and write our annual Christmas letter so that I can get our Christmas cards in the mail. I confess, the last couple of years I’ve wondered to myself if it isn’t time to “simplify” and stop writing these long (probably boring!) letters and replace the Christmas cards with a photo card, but each year I decide to continue our tradition. I like having at least one letter per year that gives an overview of what happened during that year, if only for my own historical records, and since I’m not a great communicator during the rest of the year this one letter helps me feel connected to all of you. So…here goes!
Before I begin with the events of 2022, I wanted to mention how precious Christmas 2021 was for our family. Somehow (I think when we were all together last year in August for Mom’s memorial service) it was decided that my side of the family would celebrate Christmas with us here in Aurora.
My father Bill, brother Jeff & sister-in-law Karla and their sons Jeffrey & Philip traveled from GA; my sister Vickie and her son Jason, his wife Christina and their sons Cadyn, Connor & Anthony traveled from Dallas; and our son Brooks, his wife Christina and their children (and our grandchildren) Charlotte and Ezra traveled from San Diego. Local family included our daughter Shannon and her husband Robert, our son Brady and his fiancée Colbie and Vickie’s other son Justin & his wife Allison who had moved to Littleton, CO earlier in the year. It was a wonderful time of enjoying some special family time together, which happens rarely since we are all scattered around the country. The only “bummer” was that Brady & Colbie contracted COVID-19 on Christmas Eve, so they had to stay home and join us via video call instead of in person. (We even have a photo of the entire group including Brady & Colbie on the TV screen – fun!)
In JANUARY Redgie, Bebe & I traveled to Lynchburg, VA and enjoyed a week at our home there. We were joined for a few days by our friends Mark & Cathy. It was wonderful to be able to visit with them while enjoying some fun events at Liberty such as attending Convo and a basketball game and eating at some of our favorite restaurants.
From there, in FEBRUARY we traveled to San Diego and for another two weeks enjoyed time with Brooks & Christina and Charlotte & Ezra. We visited the San Diego Zoo, enjoyed trips to the park with the kids, read lots of “bookies” and also did some maintenance on our house in Golden Hill after our 14-month tenant moved out earlier in the month. Redgie also went on a short but notable business trip to Las Vegas during that time. It was the first business trip that he has taken since COVID-19 hit in February 2020 – two years!
After we returned home to CO Vickie came to stay with us in late February – early March. She normally would not plan a trip to CO in the winter, but Shermco (the company that Jim worked for and that their sons Jason & Justin currently work for) was presenting a new Safety award named in Jim’s honor at an annual national conference that happened to be held in downtown Denver this year. So, Shermco invited Vickie, Jason & Justin (and us) to be at the presentation of the James R. White Safety Award. It was quite an honor to be able to be there and witness the national recognition given to Jim for his contributions to the safety of the electrical industry through the technical books that he had written as well as the white papers and presentations he offered at national meetings and conferences throughout his career.
Later in MARCH, Redgie went on his annual Myrtle Beach golf trip with his group of Altoona/golfing buddies. He looks forward to that trip every year and enjoys the fellowship, fun, laughter, good food & friendly competition on the golf course with his good friends. “Do it now” has been Redgie’s mantra for the past couple of years and he’s determined to enjoy these annual trips as long as he is able to continue to do so.
In APRIL, we traveled to San Diego (Apr 6 – 19, 2022) to be with Ezra as he celebrated his 2nd birthday! Ezra had lots of his friends come to his birthday party at the house where they enjoyed a fun splash pad, great food and birthday cake! During the trip we went back to the San Diego Zoo & enjoyed the water attractions/splash pad at the Children’s area as well as a ride on the carousel and train. Grammy & Pappy took Charlotte & Ezra to a few different parks around town and Bebe & I enjoyed daily walks around our Golden Hill neighborhood and Balboa Park. Redgie & Brooks attended a Padres baseball game and Redgie managed a round or two of golf during the trip.
From San Diego Redgie, Bebe & I traveled to Fort Walton Beach where we enjoyed time in our two Dune Pointe condos (April 19 – May 3, 2022). While we were there our friends Dave & Sonya visited for a week. This is the second time they’ve come to FWB and stayed with us while we were there and we loved spending time with them! Besides reminiscing about Redgie’s & Sonya’s time together singing in the EnPsalms while students at Liberty, Sonya cooked wonderful meals for us all week long which we thoroughly enjoyed!
In MAY we took a quick trip to Winchester, VA so that Redgie could attend a small reunion with his Pierce Foods colleagues. He so much enjoyed re-connecting with those guys and all of the fun stories and memories they shared during the reunion. We also were so blessed to be able to visit with our dear friends George & Karen and Andy & Jayne. We love them & have missed spending time with them since we moved away from Winchester in 1994.
JUNE was a rare month with little travel, with the exception of Redgie’s trip to Lynchburg with some of his Altoona buddies to participate in a golf tournament at Liberty University. I stayed home while he was gone and enjoyed the beautiful weather and lots of walks with Bebe. We also got to see Brooks & Christina & the kids a couple of days in June as they had traveled to Colorado Springs to attend a family reunion on her mother’s side of the family…. bonus!
Vickie came back to visit us June 23 – July 8 so that she could go with us when we took our annual trip to Dillon for the 4th of July holiday week. However, when she arrived, she found that we had been dealing with Bebe suddenly struggling with elevated kidney and liver levels and being so sick to require a 2-night hospital stay. Over the course of a week and a half her health steadily declined to the point that we had to make the difficult decision to let her go on June 27. Our hearts broke when we had to say goodbye to our sweet little girl who had been our constant companion for so many years. It was a sad trip to Dillon this year, but I was grateful for Vickie’s visit to distract me from my grief.
In AUGUST we were visited by Ray & Donna, who had moved to AZ last year. It was good to see them and fun to have them stay with us while they were in town to help their daughter & family do some home improvement projects. Unfortunately, during their stay with us we had to take a quick trip to Delaware to attend the funeral of our good friend Melanie, but it was good to be able to briefly visit with Melanie’s husband Bill and our friends Mark & Cathy while we were there.
Later in the month we traveled to San Diego for Charlotte’s 4th birthday. Charlotte’s birthday party was at the beach this year! Lots of her friends attended and they all had so much fun playing at the beach & water, on the playground and enjoying a picnic & birthday cake together. Redgie & Brooks took a quick side trip to Las Vegas to participate in the Bronco “Off Roading” school and had a blast driving Ford Bronco trucks all around a rough off road course. We also spent time at the zoo, the aquarium and the Children’s Museum with the kids during this trip.
In SEPTEMBER we embarked on a LONG-AWAITED trip to Europe (Sep 5 – 15). We had been planning this trip for 2 years so we were beyond excited to finally be able to go. The main goal of the trip was to attend the famous Passion Play in Oberammergau, Germany, which only takes place once every 10 years. But included in the travel itinerary was Prague (Czechoslovakia), Bratislava (Slovakia), Budapest (Hungary), Vienna (Austria), Oberammergau & Munich (Germany). We traveled as part of a group from the Montrose Church of the Nazarene (CA) including our friends Dave & Cyndi as well as Denver friends Randy & Elise and friends Steve & Jeanie from Idaho. It was a trip of a lifetime and the highlight, of course, was the Passion Play and our time in the quaint village of Oberammergau. We loved it!
(Click the slideshow below to see all of our photos)
Almost as soon as we got home from Europe Redgie had to repack his suitcase and head off to Nashville for a business trip; only his second business trip since 2020. I was glad to be able to stay home, unpack, do laundry and try to recover from jet-lag.
I did have fun on Sep 25 attending our daughter-in-law-to-be Colbie’s bridal shower. So many of her family, friends and bridesmaids were there and it was fun to meet them all and hear about all of their plans to attend Brady & Colbie’s wedding in Cancun in November.
In OCTOBER it was back to the friendly skies for us on Oct 12 to fly east for another Lynchburg trip. This time the focus was on FOOTBALL at LU; we got to attend 2 games during that trip. For one of them we were joined at the house by Mark & Cathy, Steve & Sue and Ken who all stayed for a long weekend. The guys got to play a round of golf, we ate at all of our favorite restaurants, attended Convo and had a great time on Saturday as we watched the LU football team win a victory over the BYU Cougars (Brigham Young). What a historical victory! We were so excited that we were able to be there to celebrate this big win for LU football with our friends.
From Lynchburg we headed back to Fort Walton Beach (Oct 24 – Nov 4). This time, the purpose of our trip was to empty the Dune Pointe condos of our personal belongings and things we wanted to keep because we had made the decision to sell both of them and re-invest the funds into a larger, newer condo on Okaloosa Island (TBD). It was a bittersweet decision because all of our Dune Pointe condos had been great investments and have contributed in a large way to the success of our short-term rental property business. But after a lot of thought and prayer we felt sure that this was the correct path for us to take and so on Oct 26 we closed on the sale of unit 501 and on Nov 17 we closed on the sale of unit 401.
Vickie came to stay with us while we were in FWB so that she could enjoy the Dune Pointe condos one more time before they were sold. We took lots of walks on the beach enjoying our memories of times spent there with family and friends over the years and looking forward to new memories at our new (as yet undetermined) property at the beach.
NOVEMBER – We only had a few days after traveling home from FWB to pack up again, this time for our trip to Cancun, Mexico so that we could attend Brady & Colbie’s wedding on Nov 12! Redgie & I left on Nov 8 and flew to San Diego so that we could travel to Cancun with Brooks, Christina, Charlotte & Ezra the next day. Brady & Colbie, most of their friends and Colbie’s family and Shannon & Robert all arrived on the same day. We had a great week enjoying lots of family time, fun activities, sunny beach and pool time, good food and of course the highlight of the trip, the beautiful wedding on the beach. Charlotte was the flower girl and Ezra was the ring bearer and of course they were adorable and did a terrific job! It was such a special, memorable week and we are so happy to finally be able to “officially” welcome Colbie to our Rogers family.
(Click the slideshow below to see all of our photos)
Redgie and I went straight to Lynchburg from Cancun for our last football weekend of the year. Unfortunately, the team did not win this game, which was disappointing. On Sunday we drove from Lynchburg to Sligo, PA were Redgie’s sister Tammy & husband Mark now live after having moved from Altoona last year to be closer to Tammy’s daughter Amanda, her husband Corey and their sweet daughters Anistyn, Lundyn and Raelyn. Despite me contracting a cold during our visit, we had a great time visiting with Tammy & Mark and Amanda and her family, including a fun visit to a local Christmas store & Christmas tree display and a delicious Thanksgiving dinner cooked by Tammy. We look forward to our next visit with them, hopefully in CO!
We got home on Nov 25 and look forward to staying put for a few weeks. We got to see Brooks & Christina & the kids for one night/day as they had traveled from CA to spend Thanksgiving in Colorado Springs with Christina’s parents & family. Shannon & Robert and Brady & Colbie came over to our house while they were here so that we all were able to visit together before Brooks & family flew home to CA the next day.
After the holidays, we plan to go to San Diego for several weeks in January 2023 to await the arrival of our THIRD GRANDCHILD due on Jan 20. We are SO excited and blessed to look forward to meeting this precious new addition to our family!
So, as we prepare to enjoy this blessed Christmas season, we send our wishes to you all for a wonderful, healthy and happy New Year! May God bless you all and please know how much we love & treasure each one of you reading this letter.
Love & blessings always,
Redgie & Valerie
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