Dear Rev. Lim,
除了家人相聚外，我也的與好幾位老朋友相見，特別開心的是遇到以前在中國和台灣宣教時的宣教師朋友們，我們聊了好久還是停不下來。 十一月時去ＣＨＡＲＬＥＳＴＯＮ拜訪朋友，除了與老友敘舊外還坐了私人馬車，聽到了ＧＲＡＣＥ聖公會的手鐘、管風琴、 聖歌隊，在有名的餐廳用餐，相當開心。
This year my individual Christmas notes are giving way to a newsletter, perhaps the start of a new tradition. It has been a wonderful eventful year.
The year started with the births of two great-grandchildren: Nadia Marie Lichter in January and Scott Bianco Spirlock in March. It is one of the goals to make it to California in 2011 to meet them!
I had my usual visits from my daughter, Carol, who flew from California to help me at tax time and then again to help me celebrate Mother’s day, from my daughter Ann and her husband Bob at Easter, and from George and Pat Thompson in early June. Each of these “regular” visits is increasingly special to me with each passing year.
An exceptional summer started with my son Jim’s visit. He accompanied me to the Swannanoa concert series at the Haywood Performing Arts Center in Waynesville. The caliber of the music and the musicians has made this concert series a tradition I look forward to every summer.
In July, Jim accompanied me to a very special event in Maine: the wedding of my grandson, Robert “sage” Phillips Russo, and Sarah Vekasi. The occasion precipitated a family reunion at the historic Claremont hotel, in Southwest Harbor. I spent some very happy hours in a rocking chair on the porch of the hotel enjoying the views of the harbor and mountains beyond, the pop-ins from children or grandchildren who took the rocker adjacent to sit and chat a while, the impromptu lunches on the porch and, last but not least, the appearance of President Obama and his family who stopped by for lunch a the hotel. The bride was beautiful and the outdoor wedding beautiful, complete with a driveby of the presidential motorcade in the background as the bride and groom exchanged their vows.
Carol came in October to help me celebrate my birthday. On her heels were a rather amazing series of October visitors. First came Barbara Chase, and her spunky sister, Pat. Barbara worked in the UMC offices at 475 Riverside Drive and was a tremendous help to me in getting to know the ropes when I was a novice on an assignment to cover the office of the East Asia Secretary while he was on a sabbatical.
Barbara and Pat had no sooner left than I got a surprise telephone call and visit from Allen Jernigan. Allen goes way back with me. Allen and Carlisle knew each other when they were boys, and Allen came as a missionary to PuTien, China (Where Carlisle and I were also assigned as missionaries). There we lived through some interesting times including house arrest under the communists, and the eventual arduous journey out of China.
We’re not done with October yet! Next came a wonderful accession of visits from Bud Carroll, Judith Thomas and Milo Thornberry, all of whom were missionaries in Taiwan during the time that Carlisle and I were there. Bud, who was visiting form Hong Kong, stayed in the upstairs apartment and we talked nonstop for hours. There were many trips down memory lane with Bud, Judith and Milo.
Then November: The highlight of November certainly was the trip to Charleston and meeting there with good friends Ann and Julius Scott. Don and Carol arranged a private carriage ride for us, and we had a “marvelous” time catching up and remembering. On Sunday in Charleston it was a special treat to go to Grace Episcopal to hear the call of the bells, the organ and the renowned choir. A Charleston visit wouldn’t be right without lunch at Jestine’s, so we did.
Then home for Thanksgiving: Don prepared a succulent turkey. Sage, Sarah and her parents, Jim and Mary Vekasi, helped us eat it. The food and company were wonderful. I was happy for the chance to get to know Jim and Mary a little better. At church on December 5, George and Pat Thompson helped us celebrate the retirement of the debt on the post-fire church reconstruction. This time it was the church mortgage that burned. Carlisle would have been delighted.
I entered the hospital later the same night with severe abdominal pain. Two days later I underwent surgery for intestinal blockage caused by some old scar tissue. Then, because my heart was atwitter, the doctors decided to install a pacemaker. Thanks to a fine medical team, I am back at home and recovering nicely. Now, I am lucky to have family and friends doting on me. My daughter, Ann and her husband, Bob, were with me the first week. My daughter, Claire, just arrived to take the second shift and help me stuff stockings. Jim and his family will arrive on the 22nd for what promises to be a memorable Christmas.
There have been many delightful visits form family and friends, but I am equally grateful for the wonderful daily friendship and support from family, neighbors and friends too numerous to mention.
It has been an amazing, wonderful, marvelous year. More than I can say, I will miss my brother, David, who died this year. But the year ends where it started: with the happy anticipation of a new great-grandchild.
My love to you at Christmastime,
Ruth B. Phillips12-18-10