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It has been a very exciting year for my family and I and want to thank all of my relatives, friends, and colleagues for being so supportive in all of our endeavors. We make an annual trek to Ashland, Oregon annually for the Shakespeare Festival where we usually see 3-4 productions, not all are Shakespearean plays. This always takes place during my daughters spring break and they get to ski one or 2 days at Mt. Ashland which is 10-12 miles from the city.

Summers are always a time for planting a vegetable garden and flowers and observing the blossoms on the fruit trees turn to tiny little knots of fruit and in a couple of months we get to reap the benefits and I get my fill of peach cobbler.

As usual every December about this time of the year, the family gears up and everyone knows they have to be home on the designated weekend to participate in our one big cultural event of the year: it is tamales time. We make the traditional pork tamales. In addition, there is always my private reserve of green chile and cheese tamales, which are my favorite.

As I am sitting here on my computer, the seasoned meat is simmering on a huge pot on the stove. The combination of garlic and cumin permeates the air and the entire house is engulfed in this unbelievable mouthwatering aroma.

By the time all is said and done Saturday night, we will have created approximately 20 dozen tamales, at least twelve dozen will be doled out to friends and colleagues as tokens of appreciation and as a goodwill gesture of reaching out to say this is one hell of good place to live and I am proud to be a veteran and a citizen of the U.S.A. This is a great country where all things are possible and we can all contribute to the greatness of this nation. alas, this is my last piece of writing for the year as I have some obligations that I must take care of before the end of the year and then I will be off to Portland, Oregon for a few days.

Happy holidays to all of you.