Thursday, January 8, 2009

The only town in the US where no one asks me how to spell Showalter...

I've already indulged in my overly sentimental familial Christmas blog for the year, so I'll tone it down a bit in this one. :) On Christmas day, we made our annual 8-hour trek to Harrisonburg, Virgina to see my dad's side of the family. It was a beautiful drive as always, and seemed to be more lively and joyous with the addition of Joo to the family journey, even if it did mean a 33% net reduction in back seat space for Heather and me. Now that we have matured slightly past the point of striping territorial lines on the seat with masking tape, the more the merrier. Our first stop was Grandma Showalter (shown here with Heather) who was as sharp as always (other than being the only member of our entire extended family who actually had to work on December 26- luckily she found a replacement!)

Heather and I both crammed some extra visits in during our short stay. She met with a friend (pictured below... well the baby of her friend is pictured below) and Joo and I met with Millard Showalter, a former math professor of mine from EMU. He displayed some of his famous storytelling skills and inspired me with a true story of how he used mathematical calculations and statistics in a court room to get out of a speeding ticket a few years back.

Mom and Dad stayed with Dad's brother Glen Showalter in the house Dad grew up in (also known as The House that Had Enough Vintage Ballcards to Let Dad Retire at Age 35 if they hadn't Accidentally Gotten Thrown Away)

Heather, Joo and I stayed at our cousin Louisa's house with her husband Wayne and four kids. The third girl, Elly, was having a big American Girls birthday party during our stay so she got lots of added attention...

The kids had just received a Wii for Christmas and since it would be absolutely impossible to wrench any kid away from a new video game, we jumped in and joined them in some wrestling, bowling, and tennis.
The next day was the big family gathering which was a whirl of food, stories, games, and entertainment...

The climax of the day was Grandma Showalter's reading of the Luke Christmas passage to all her great-grandchildren.

Joo surprised me by remembering almost all of my extended relatives' names. More precisely, Joo ASTOUNDED me by remembering MORE of my extended relatives' names than I did! Here she is playing with my cousin Chad's son, whose name I think is Jon, but you would have to ask Joo to be sure.

The whole affair was a grand time, although my one regret is not having more time to catch up with each of my relatives since I only see them once a year (or once every four years when I find myself gallavanting through various countries a lot these days). One fun moment was trying to send Joo and my translations in by deadline (which was 2 am). We had it finished, but the internet had crashed at the house we were staying at. So, at 1:30 a.m., we drove slowly through a residential neighborhood in a random town, with Joo clicking constantly on "Find a network" Luckily, she did, and we got it sent JUST in the nick of time- whew. A stressful job at times, but we did calculate that it has helped us offset about half of our extended honeymoon costs. And more extended honeymoon = more time with the people we love (including each other).

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