Merry Christmas - 2019


You would think that with retirement, the pace of our lives would slow down a bit, but that’s not the way it’s working out (is anyone really surprised?).   Scott turned 67 in May, and retired at month’s end, after 45 years in IT.

Now that we are both retired, we are hoping to do a bit of traveling while still in good enough health to really enjoy it.

That plan got off to a quick start on July 1st, with a flight in our Cessna 182 to Decorah, Iowa.   Karen had just finished playing the mother in Mama Mia on the 30th, but was ready to go on the 2nd, when she and Ellis joined us for our flight west to South Dakota.

Our trip’s first leg was to Mitchell to visit the Corn Palace.   From there we flew on to Rapid City.   Our to-do list was lengthy – the total came to 14 and we saw every single one of them! We visited the traditional spots such as Mount Rushmore and the Badlands, but also a number of others.   We all agreed that Custer State Park was our very favorite.   The beautiful scenery of the Black Hills was fabulous (a word Scott used a lot).

On the 4th, we rode the 1880 Railroad from Keystone to Hill City and back; of course Scott took lots of photos!

We started our last day, the 9th, with a visit to Jewel Cave.   Rhoda was not to be deterred by the 750 stairs going up and down on the walkway through the cave.   From there we headed north into Spearfish Canyon, with its fabulous (again!) scenery.   We left the Canyon at its north end, headed into Spearfish for another meal at Killian’s Restaurant.   We had eaten a delicious lunch there on the 8th after visiting Devils Tower, and we all looked forward to a return visit!

We flew out of Rapid City on the 10th, with a pleasant flight back to Decorah.   Weather prevented us from leaving for South Carolina until 3:00am on the 12th, but a tailwind of 30 knots made the flight non-stop, in 5 hours flat.   See photos of all the highlights from our trip at:

Days after our return we began working on Scott’s City Council re-election campaign.   Every spare minute in the evenings and weekends for the next 2˝ months was devoted to going door-to-door together, meeting residents.   We were able to complete our goal of visiting the homes of all the residents that had voted in the last city election, as well as many others.   All to no avail: although Scott received more votes than ever before, a big voter turnout made that total less than 50%.   We were disappointed, but Scott will continue to remain active in various other aspects of the city.

Thank heavens for being retired!   In July some friends convinced Scott to write his second book, From Savagery to Greatness – Stair-steps to Humanity, an overview of the interrelationships of humanity’s biological, mental, and cultural evolution over the last five million years.


His goal was to have copies of the book on hand when he presented a lecture on that subject at the Charcon conference in November, giving him only 3 months!.   It was close, but all the details fell into place in time.   Rhoda says the book is very readable – and Rhoda did the cover art! Don’t miss it!   See more about it, including how to buy your copy (softbound or Kindle) at:

Less than two weeks after the conference, we headed to Savannah, Georgia, to celebrate our 17th wedding anniversary.   You may remember that we got married on Thanksgiving Day.   Once again our anniversary – the 28th – fell on Thanksgiving Day, and we celebrated with a delicious dinner at Savannah’s historic Olde Pink House.   We flew down in the 182, with a 40-knot tailwind cutting our flight time once again.   The weather while there was kind to us, allowing us to tour the beautiful city by open air trolley.   We toured the city, visited the maritime museum, went on a riverboat tour, and explored Tybee Island.   But the highlight of the trip was the Georgia State Railroad Museum.   Scott is a train enthusiast (if you didn’t know already) but even Rhoda thought it was extremely interesting.   Many well preserved engines and cars were on display in the roundhouse.   Scott had seen many train turntables but had never seen one in operation.   Not only were we able to do that but were also on a short train ride that included shifting positions by use of the turntable – three times!   Scott was thrilled!   See photos of all the highlights from our trip at:

Earlier this year our next door neighbor passed away.   It was evident that no one was living in the house but her two cats were still in her yard.   It took a while to find out what the relatives planned to do about the cats.   We had already started feeding one of them because it was clear that she was losing weight and was not in very good shape.   The relative admitted that they had been feeding one but not the other and had no plans for her future home or care.   Sooooo - Little Bit became the newest member of our family (much to the dismay of our older cat Valentine).   Little Bit is full grown, but even though she has gained some weight, she is only 6 pounds.   She is a real spitfire, but has calmed down a lot and will now let us pet her most of the time without retaliating.   Valentine is still not a fan.


Scott’s intellectual journey continued this year, and he has several good books to recommend.

Railroader, by Howard Green, is an exciting story about Hunter Harrison, CEO for four different railroads.   He did a great job of restructuring the operations of each one.   Scott can vouch for that success – his railroad stock investments have been huge successes!

The Journey of Man, by Spencer Wells, describes the innovative study and use of DNA to discover humanity’s migrations across the planet.   Wells’ explanations are easy to understand, making this book exciting reading.   It is also the source for quite a lot of information Scott used in his new book, From Savagery to Greatness, mentioned earlier.

Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates, by Kilmeade and Yaeger, reads like a suspense novel.   It describes the American response to the enslavement of thousands of Americans by the Moslems of north Africa in the 1790-1815 period.   The young U.S. Navy earned the respect of the European navies as a result of those events.

If you like science-fiction, be sure to read David Weber’s Honor Harrington series of books, which starts with On Basilisk Station.   His latest book, Uncompromising Honor, may be the best one yet.

See more about these and other books at:

Besides flying to South Dakota and Savannah, our 182 took us to Pennsylvania for Christmas 2018, as well as to many South Carolina Breakfast Club fly-ins, and more.   Scott got in almost 100 hours of flying this year – the most since 1994.   See more about our flying at:

The 182 got a couple of new nav-coms (navigation and communications radios) in March, which really make flying a lot easier – but it took a good many hours of practice to learn their operation!

We will soon be on our way to Pennsylvania once again this year, for our annual Christmas visit with Scott’s family – hopefully in the 182 if the weather allows!

        Merry Christmas to all!        

Go to top