Chapter 28
Christmas Letter 2013

Karen and I celebrated 20 years of wedded bliss on May 15th. Karen has one more year to go until she retires from Florida State College at Jacksonville. She is counting the days. We are both looking forward to spending time together in the mountains of North Carolina, Otto, to be exact, just north of the Georgia border on 441. I can't wait to ride my motorbike on those mountain roads and shoot firearms in the front yard. Real good moonshine is sometimes available.
By Christmas, Karen will have been to Otto 7 times this year. Barbara went with her in March, Paula in May, Elle in August, Rosemary in October, by herself in November, and with me in December. In October Karen squeezed in an art journaling workshop in Charlotte, NC.
I have recovered pretty well from back surgery last year. I am cleaning pools 4 days a week and working out moderately. I sat the beach lifeguarding 6 or so times and was in charge of our 2013 ARCVLSC yearbook. We have a good bunch of young to old lifeguards. I'm grateful to be contributing to society and having a good time doing it.
So I found a baby turtle (red eared slider) the size of a silver dollar in one of my pools in February. We bought a 10 gallon aquarium and watched Teri grow (she is now almost 6" long). Karen's friend Paula found a 3" musk turtle walking down her sidewalk, so we adopted her too (Toni). One of our guards found a male 5" eastern river cooter swimming in the surf by the Jax Beach pier, so we named him Neil after the guard. Finally (I hope) Jerry Pilcher found a baby Florida soft shell in one of his pools. Anyway, now it's November and we have a 40 gallon aquarium, 2 filters and $800 worth of associated gear. Turtles are a lot of work to keep, but are more fun to watch than a barrel of monkeys. Believe it or not, turtles have personalities. Ooops, November 22, found an adult male red eared slider walking across Marsh Landing Parkway. Karen named him Marshall. We're thinking about an above ground swimming pool for them all.
I made it to Statesboro for my great granddaughter Laila Grace's 4th birthday party in June. I love my Georgia family. I will have another great grandchild soon. Bobby and Megan are expecting. Grandson Greg and his wife Kristen, and new son, Michael Allen, are in Korea, Greg is in the army.
Karen and I are going to spend Christmas in the mountains. My buddies, Gordie Vandusen and Eric Williams are looking after my pools while I'm gone. I'm ready for a little R&R. We're taking Smoky, our cat, and the turtles with us.
I'm looking forward to making progress in 2014 in all aspects of my life, hopefully without any more major hindrances or setbacks. Fingers crossed. Best wishes to you all too.

Love - David and Karen

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