Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Ron's Christmas Note

Dear Family and Friends, There’s a thin blanket of snow in Budapest, the Christmas Markets are bustling, tree lined boulevards glitter and glow each night… and we are prepping for our Great Holiday Escape! On Dec. 16th we fly to Paris to spend a few days there. Now that’ll be hard to take, right… bundling up to explore the City of Lights at Christmas. Joyeaux Noel! Then the 15 hour South African Air journey. “Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!” No, no, no, sport fans… not Detroit, Detroit and Chicago! Except for the tigers and maybe the bears, we will be celebrating the, ahem, Summer Holidays with King Leo and other wonderful beings in South Africa! Fortunate us, we’ll bask under colorfully lit Christmas Palm Trees in Capetown, on the Cape of Good Hope, in the rolling hills of their wine country, and in the jungle, the mighty jungle. We first stay at Ashanti Hostel; we’ll join the backpacking crowd for Christmas dinner, which features ostrich! I’ll be on the lookout for an authentically African Midnight Mass celebration. On Boxing Day we are guests in the back flat of two writers, she a children’s book author and he a travel writer. The final week, we’ll welcome the New Year with Kruger Park jungle companions. [While way down South until January 13, we’ll be checking e-mail; or are the best couriers. We hope to hear from some of you.] All is well here. My classes have ended; Ryan’s soon will. Our B & B is going strong… we just said goodbye to Manfred of Germany who spent a week here. He was an amazing guest… 70 years old and he was out and about every day by 9 AM until 10 PM! We’ve now had guests from all over Europe, Venezuela, Canada, Australia and the US of A. It’s been a great experience. We are already getting bookings for May and June ’06. Speaking of bookings, my Christmas gift is a ticket to Colorado next June. I also hope to spend some time in Iowa. I’m working on the timing… around June 19 to July 6, I hope. Runaway thoughts: Our Christmas cactus is blooming… how fine to have a living, blossoming being in the midst of winter chill. I feel warmer when I am wearing my University of Iowa Hawkeye sweatshirt. The movie “A Christmas Story” never gets old… did you know there are tons of blogs that dissect all the trivia of this 25 year old classic? A joke worth recycling??? What if there’d been Three Wise Women?? They would have asked for directions, arrived on time, helped deliver the baby, cleaned the stable, made a casserole, and brought practical gifts! A little beauty, warmth and laughter are needed in our troubled world, but everyday we see so many sorrowful sights… be they the street people in our towns or the people of Darfur or Baghdad, or North Korea or the West Bank. Robert Ellsberg once wrote: Dorothy Day was a great believer in “the sacrament of the present moment.” In each situation, in each encounter, in each task before us, she believed there is a path to God. We do not need to be in a monastery or a chapel. We need not become different people first. We can start today, this moment, where we are, to add to the balance of love in the world, to add to the balance of peace. My wish is that we may be signs of love, reconciliation, and peace… and learn that differences are gifts to be celebrated… in each present moment. Bekes karacsonyt es boldog uj evet.. Ron and Ryan "Christmas gift suggestions: To your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect."

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