Elmarco's Web . . .

Our 1999 Christmas Letter

(It's a "Web-ized" letter with clickable links to pictures!)

The Mark Family Gallery

Happy Holidays!

Well, here I am in my rookie season & already nominated for MVG. (That's "Most Valuable Grandpa" & all I have to do to win is beat out Grandpa Nelson, who's also a rookie.) We got over to Tiberias, Israel, where Cindy & Israel live, to see our little granddaughter Noah last March. I must admit she is a Sweetie!

Saw a few sights in Israel & wandered about the Old City again. Then detoured to Egypt on the way back to see the pyramids and the Sphinx & take a boat trip up the (beautiful!) Nile visiting various & sundry ancient temples. Check out www.erols.com/ldmark/mideast/mideast.htm--I've got some nice pictures.

Then in June, Cindy & Israel & Noah came back here for a nice 3-week visit including a trip to see the Massachusetts relatives & later son Steve came back from Columbus to get to see his new niece.

Steve is continuing to prosper as an engineer at Honda. Still the "busiest man in the world," he is putting the final touches on The Beast--the '68 Mustang that he drove back to Columbus in November '98 (this is almost as long a story as the fateful patio, which languished in semi-indifference this past year. But the project is not dead! However, it was delayed again, partly because of another (languishing) project. I took the old 2x8 redwood planks that had been shading our regular patio & sawed them into pieces to make a hexagonal flower box to put around the stump of the big sycamore tree we had cut down. Bought aluminum nails & now I'm all ready to put the thing together--just as soon as the mood hits me!).

My good wife Mary has evolved--nay, metamorphized--into the quintessential shopping grandma. Whenever we get separated in a department store, I always know where to find her--with the baby stuff!

We got out to San Diego in October to handle press/public relations duties at the U.S. Animal Health Association meeting there. Nice trip. (As an aside, why do we focus on trips in these Christmas letters? Why don't we focus on ordinary things--like that nice June morning when we got up--oh around 8 or so, the alarm didn't ring & we didn't have anything special to do--again--so it didn't matter exactly. And then one of us made the coffee [if it's too strong, it was Mary; dishwater, me] & we read the paper, digest the news, do the crossword puzzle, take a walk & count squirrels, and then think about lunch. Check the e-mail, do some web work, watch old movies & Jessica Fletcher reruns, knit some more hats, think about supper, check the market on CNBC (ah Maria!) & the TV news & laugh again at Seinfeld, maybe catch a Bundesliga soccer match on the tube, read a bit, and, hey--it's time for bed!!)

Henry remains his inscrutible cat-like self & now has his own vision statement: "I am brown, hairy & self contained." Check it out on his Web page (millennium.fortunecity.com/lightyear/692/lmark/henry.htm) .

I'm added a few--very few, unfortunately--chapters to my book, "My Daughter Said She'd Burn This Book!" You can read a few of them at www.erols.com/ldmark/pre/pcontent.htm. Anybody know a good publisher? Anybody know a publisher!!!

I went to my 50th high school reunion in Council Bluffs in September ("AL will shine tonight, AL will shine; When the sun goes down & the moon comes up, AL will shine!" Hey, it was high school!)--it was a blast, seeing all those old folks!

Are you as sick of Y2K as we are? Maybe it ought 2B Y2B as in "Why to be--or not to be; that is the question."

Which brings me to a whole bunch of license plates for all you fans out there:

BOO 13 (a black car, what else?); AF BRTS; SINK NVY (with a West Point bumper sticker); 4NTRDME; IAST8 85 (for you ISU alums); FALL CAN (& the message above & below the plate said "My car - Daddy's money"). How about SMR RAIN; ROKALOT; SNDBOX; WHSKRS; LITLEKD; TA BIEN (Spanish?); 2 CUTIES; 4 BLONDS; I FLEW 4U; WE MAP4U; G R I N; SOCGRL; NUZ CRU; MSHCKY (Give Blood - Play Hockey); BLUE TA2; NIZGUY; LIVNKLN; HAIR 1GO; EZ2BL8; IL BCNYA; WATR BBY; X PHYLES; WKED WCH; BAYBDOL; MOBI DK & finally, one I made up: YRU2CLS (clue: I hate tailgaiters!).

And these all centered on their cars: R 99 GT (Pontiac Grand Am); JELLIBN (a new bright red VW bug); ZOOM 4 2 (red Corvette convertible); 2MCH 4YU; ROBSVAN; OCPONY (bright yellow Mustang); KITCHNS & FMLYCEO (both vans); 4X4 4POP (Ford 250 Lariat truck); 3RD Z (on a Nissan 300 ZX); HOT SE-R (on a Nissan SER) & 2 IMPRESS (old Toyota Corolla).

Once again, a modern fad has passed me by! Everybody's into POKEMON & I'm still mired in Mother Goose! When I first heard it, I thought it was someone from Jamaica saying "poke the man." But thanks to Dave Barry, I learned that it comes from the Japanese phrase meaning "huge profits through nagging."

Back to squirrel counting, we hit the 25-squirrel mark on four occasions! Best rate was 1.67 SPM (that's squirrels per minute) on a sunny morning on Oct. 17!

I know we can't remember 1900. But many of our folks were there. What changes man hath wrought! Our nominations for "best stuff" of the century: Electricity, the internal combustion engine, indoor plumbing & the flush toilet, microwave ovens, ATM machines & stamps at the Giant, interstate highways, telephones/radio/TV/CD's, the Internet, genetic engineering, space travel, computers, really dumb commercials.

The future? Genetic engineering, miniaturization, mapping the human genome, wireless, really dumber commercials!

And, finally, in the spirit of the holidays, what do you call Santa's helpers? Why "Subordinate Clauses" of course!

Merry Christmas from the Springfield Marks....

Our (Henry's) Home Page

P.S. You can e-mail us at ldmark@erols.com